Bayern Munich will look to keep up their solid run of form when they face Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Bayern Munich will be keen to continue their perfect start under Hansi Flick when they play hosts to Peter Bosz’s Bayer Leverkusen at home on Saturday.
The tables have turned at Bayern Munich this season and after Niko Kovac’s sacking, there was an atmosphere of chaos and anxiety among the supporters. But, ever since Hansi Flick’s arrival, the nerves have settled. The Bavarians have played more fearlessly in the last few matches, something which is more in tune with the club’s ideology.
Bayern have scored 16 goals from four matches and have not conceded even once in that time period, which is a very important factor, considering they were very shaky at the back during Kovac’s time.
On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen have strung together a few positive results lately, a run which includes wins against Wolfsburg, Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow. Peter Bosz’s men are still very much in contention to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League and a shock win against Juventus may see them end up there.
However, in the Bundesliga, they have struggled for consistency this season and are languishing at ninth on the table. Therefore, it can be a match full of surprises, where Bayern will look to inch closer to the Bundesliga summit while the visitors will look to continue from where they left in their win against Lokomotiv Moscow this week.
Team News & Tactics
Apart from defender Niklas Sule, who suffered a severe knee injury earlier in the season, Bayern Munich do not have any long-term absentees. Lucas Hernandez and Jann-Fiete Arp are set to return next month from their respective injuries. Flick may leave David Alaba out again, as the Austrian defender is awaiting the birth of his child.
With the options available to him, the interim Bayern Munich boss has often surprised fans with his lineups and outlook towards rotation, which his predecessor lacked dearly. The Bavarians are expected to play in their conventional 4-2-3-1 setup, with Manuel Neuer taking his place in goal.
With injuries in defence, Javi Martinez has filled in superbly and Jerome Boateng will partner him at the heart of the backline. Benjamin Pavard will keep his place at right-back, while Alphonso Davies will slot in on the left. The Canadian teenager has impressed massively with his string of good performances lately.
Joshua Kimmich is set to deputise in a midfield role and will be raring to take the field after being rested against Red Star Belgrade. However, it will be a tough choice picking his partner in the middle of the park, with both Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso playing some exceptional football.
Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, as usual, will provide width and pace down the flanks with Thomas Muller playing as the second striker, just behind the rampaging Robert Lewandowski.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Martinez, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski
Peter Bosz’s injury woes do not seem to be reaching an end, as Kai Havertz is doubtful for the fixture after pulling his hamstring. However, the young German international might just be fit enough to make the bench.
Leverkusen are driven by two defenders Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender with the experienced Lukas Hradecky guarding the goal. Lars Bender is likely to replace Panagiotis Retsos at right-back as Leverkusen need experience in the backline, while Wendell on the left remains as a mainstay.
Kerem Demirbay and Charles Aranguiz will form the double pivot in midfield and both the midfielders are capable enough to pull the chords from the middle of the park. In Havertz’s absence, summer signing Moussa Diaby will slot in centrally, with Karim Bellarabi and Leon Bailey manning the flanks.
Brazilian youngster, Paulinho may also be in the mix of things later in the game. Kevin Volland is set to lead the line for Leverkusen yet again, but if Bosz feels there is a different dynamism needed to attack, he may also unleash Lucas Alario, who will provide them a more physical presence up front.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hradecky; Lars Bender, Tah, Sven Bender, Wendell; Demirbay, Aranguiz; Bellarabi, Diaby, Bailey; Volland.
- Bayer Leverkusen are on a horrid run away from home against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, having lost six matches on the trot at the Allianz Arena.
- Only Carlo Ancelotti (three wins and an aggregate scoreline of 13-0) and Udo Lattek (three wins and 16-1) had a better goal record in their first three Bundesliga matches in charge of Bayern Munich than Hansi Flick (10-0).
- Bayer Leverkusen have lost more Bundesliga games against Bayern Munich (47) and have also conceded the more goals (151) to the Bavarians than they have versus any other opposition.
- Bayern Munich have lost one Bundesliga home match against Bayer Leverkusen (W23 D5) out of 29 matches. The only win for the visitors came way back in 2012-13 season.
- Bayer Leverkusen have kept Lewandowski from scoring in 12 of their 15 meetings with him. No club has shut the Pole out more often.
Player to Watch
One of the most underrated footballers in the current era, Javi Martinez has always stepped up in the time of need. He has been a loyal servant for Bayern Munich and his passion for the badge is evident every time he steps on the field. Despite being on the wrong side of thirty and losing a fair amount of pace, Martinez has been, by far, the best defender for Bayern this season.
Top-notch match reading skills coupled with clean tackling make the Spaniard a composed figure at the heart of the Bayern defence. To add to this, he is also assured with the ball at his feet and hits the right chords with his wide array of passes from the backline. A key player for Die Roten.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen need a win at the Allianz Arena against Bayern to rise in the Bundesliga league table. A win over the record champions will also be a statement and may turn their season around. However, it is easier said than done and considering the form this Bayern side is in, it will be difficult to stop them from scoring.
Leverkusen have fared well in Europe and have immense potential to get back to where they belong before the end of the season. But, the difference in quality between both the sides, coupled with the potential absence of Kai Havertz, put the visitors way behind the record champions. The Hard Tackle predicts a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts.