The German Bundesliga is, for once, a competitive title race. Despite chasing an 11th consecutive title, Bayern Munich are facing a genuine challenge from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and, surprisingly, Union Berlin. For either side to be able to catch Der Rekordmeister, though, they will need a helping hand from the other top sides in the league – including Bayer Leverkusen.
With the international break around the corner, fans around Germany will be hoping for a shock. Given Leverkusen have an infamously poor record against the Bavarians, though, will it come this weekend?
Bayer Leverkusen News
Bayer are coming into this one missing a few of their most important players – Patrik Schick looks almost certain to miss out, for one. Other options that are likely to miss out include backup goalkeeper Andrey Lunev and Charles Aranguiz. This hurts depth and it could play a key role in this era of five subs.
Expect to see Leverkusen line up in their now-traditional 3-4-2-1. Sardar Azmoun will likely start upfront, flanked by Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz. They have firepower in the team, but is that enough to slow down FCB?
The problem for Leverkusen will be fatigue. Despite enjoying a relatively serene passage through to the quarter finals of the UEFA Europa League, they still used energy in a week where Bayern have had their feet-up. The rather patchy form of central defenders Jonathan Tah, Piero Hincapie, and Edmond Tapsoba mean that Leverkusen does not have too much in terms of hope of keeping a clean sheet.
So, the mission will be to outscore one of the most frightening attacking teams in Europe. No pressure.
Bayern Munich News
FCB come into this one with only a couple of issues: Lucas Hernandez and Manuel Neuer are out long-term, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting could miss out. This could be crucial as he has taken up the strikers role at Bayern with aplomb, and him missing out could be very important for a Leverkusen side that know they probably need to win a shootout with Bayern.
Yann Sommer has come in and performed admirably in goals, though, so Leverkusen should not expect to find themselves with an easy opportunity to win. Bayern tend to line up in a more traditional 4-2-3-1, but this will give them pace and power in the wide areas – meaning it is likely that Leverkusen’s shaky defence will be facing plenty of 1v1 actions.
Given Bayern can employ platers like Sadio Mane and Leroy Sane on the wings, with Jamal Musiala drifting where he wishes, that is a frightening prospect for any team.
Prediction Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
Leverkusen are simply not a team that has confidence when it comes to playing Bayern. They have frequently dropped eggs at home under Xabi Alonso, too, and Bayern are unbeaten in six against Leverkusen – they won 4-0 against them earlier in the year, and won 5-1 here last season. Nothing to fear for Bayern, who will almost certainly head into the international break top of the pile before the clash with Borussia Dortmund on the 1st April.
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