Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: Bundesliga preview

All the latest news and information as Bayer Leverkusen host Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga this Saturday.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: Bundesliga preview
CHRISTOF STACHE AFP

Bayer Leverkusen continue their hunt for Champions League football as they host Bayern Munich on Saturday afternoon. We look at what could be in store for us...

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich Preview

Leverkusen are level on points with Borussia Monchengladbach but are currently missing out on the final qualification spot on goal difference. Monchengladbach travel to Munich next Saturday so Leverkusen may feel this is an opportunity to overtake their closest rivals.

They will hope that star man Kai Havertz, confirmed as fit to play after going off injured against Freiburg last week, can give them some cutting edge against the meanest defence in the league. The young German has scored six goals in his last four appearances but is yet to score in his six appearances against Bayern. Edmond Tapsoba will face Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski for the first time since the 21-year-old’s January move from Vitória S.C. The centre back from Burkina Faso has impressed with his intelligence in possession during his short spell in Germany.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern will simply be looking for more of the same after their impeccable form since the restart. The Bavarians have scored 13, conceded just 2, and not dropped a point in the four games back to give themselves a seven-point cushion at the top. But they will want to win it in style and Robert Lewandowski will harbour hopes of matching Gerd Müller's 40-goal Bundesliga record. The Pole would need 11 goals from the remaining five matches to get there, but after notching a brace last time out you would not put it past him.

In the reverse fixture back in November Leverkusen sprung a surprise defeat at the Allianz Arena and Bayern will be desperate to avoid losing twice to them for the first time in their history. This will also be an opportunity to assess the talents of Havertz with Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid also believed to be interested. In Friday’s press conference Bayern coach Hansi Flick spoke about the young prospect saying: "I've known him since the [German] U-17s. He has developed enormously well at Leverkusen. He moves very well between the lines and has a strong instinct to score goals at a young age."

Bayer Leverkusen Predicted XI vs Bayern Munich

Hradecky; Weiser, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz, Demirbay; Bellarabi, Amiri, Diaby; Havertz

Bayern Munich Predicted XI vs Bayer Leverkusen

Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Thiago; Gnabry, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: Injuries and Suspensions

Havertz has really risen to prominence since his move to the false nine position but until February it was Kevin Volland leading the line for Leverkusen. After nearly four months on the sidelines due to an ankle injury Volland is expected to return to the bench on Saturday. Captain Lars Bender is still suffering the effects of a foot injury suffered against Werder Bremen, but may be fit enough for the bench if required.

Bayern will be strengthened by the return of playmaker Thiago Alcantara who Flick confirmed “is an option” for his side on Saturday. The Spaniard may partner Joshua Kimmich in midfield, with Leon Goretzka in need of a break after playing three full matches in the last two weeks. Long-term injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Corentin Tolisso mean both are ruled out.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: What the managers said

Peter Bosz (Bayer Leverkusen): “We have to believe in ourselves, play with passion and dare to attack. In addition, we must perform our game in an almost perfect way to have a chance. Then it is possible. But Bayern is strong, it has no weak points from attack to defence”

Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich): "The way we play is good. We are hungry for goals… We want to tackle the game against Leverkusen in the same way. Leverkusen have very, very fast players and are a dangerous team. We have to prevent these things.”

Prediction

Leverkusen have ran the furthest of any team in the Bundesliga this season and they will need that fitness if they are to have any chance against Bayern’s possession-based game. In Havertz they have an outstanding forward player and Volland’s return should give them an extra option from the bench.

However Bayern have looked imperious since the restart and a midfield of Kimmich and Thiago is a match for any in world football. They should have enough to pick up another three points here.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich