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Bayer Leverkusen

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich – stats, team news, line-ups

Saturday’s mammoth showdown at the BayArena will have massive implications for the Bundesliga title race as pacesetters Bayer Leverkusen and perennial champions Bayern Munich trade tackles in a top-table six-pointer.

Fatigue could be possibly catching up with Xabi Alonso’s high-flying side after they had to fight back twice and net a 90th-minute winner to overcome Stuttgart in midweek DFB-Pokal action. 

Leverkusen’s 3-2 home win against the Bundesliga surprise package booked their place in the semi-finals of a competition they last won in 1992/93 while maintaining their incredible 2023/24 campaign.

As the only side in UEFA’s 54 top-tier divisions yet to lose a game this term, Die Werkself extended their unbeaten run to 30 matches across all competitions (W26, D4).

It’s only natural to assume they’ll take the field in high spirits, knowing another positive result would bring them within a fixture away from equalling an outright record in German football held by Bayern.

Keen to knock their fierce rivals off their perch and throw a spanner into their bid to cover themselves in Bundesliga glory for the first time in the club’s history, Thomas Tuchel’s men head into this clash in fine form.

Since a dismal 1-0 defeat to bottom-half Werder Bremen in mid-January, the Bavarians have racked up a three-game winning league streak, bookended by a 3-1 thumping of Borussia Monchengladbach last week.

But they’re still two points off Leverkusen ahead of the kick-off in the first-ever Bundesliga season to see two sides hit a 50-point landmark at this juncture.

Match Preview

Leverkusen delivered a perfect response to a heartbreaking 0-0 home draw against Gladbach in their last home league outing, beating rock-bottom Darmstadt 2-0 in the build-up to this encounter.

Gladbach’s resilient performance at the BayArena led to Die Werkself’s only scoring blank in competitive action this season and remains the only blemish on their phenomenal scoring record on home turf.

Except for that frustrating fixture, where they generated 2.87 xG, Alonso’s troops have netted at least three goals in five of their last six home matches, a feat they’ve not managed against Bayern since 2019.

However, they put the 11-time successive Bundesliga champions to the sword in their last top-flight meeting here, with Exequiel Palacios’ second-half brace overturning Joshua Kimmich’s first-half opener in a 2-1 win.

It’s been 27 years since Bayern last suffered back-to-back away league defeats to Leverkusen, and maintaining that trend is imperative to stay within striking distance of a record-extending 34th title.

Becoming the first side since Koln in May 2023 to take all three points from the BayArena would fire the Bavarians back to the top of the Bundesliga standings, but it’s hardly a simple task.

Tuchel’s team conceded a 94th-minute penalty in a goal-glutted 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture, extending their underwhelming H2H run against the North Rhine-Westphalia outfit to one win in their last four duels (D2, L1).

But it’s worth noting that before the abovementioned loss at this ground last season, Bayern had won three away league games against Leverkusen on the trot, bagging 11 goals in that sequence.

Team News & Potential Line-ups

Victor Boniface’s long-term injury is a significant blow to Leverkusen’s title pursuit, but winter arrival Borja Iglesias is ready to fill the void, as is free-scoring Patrick Schick. 

Last season’s hero Palacios is out injured, while Odilon Kossoounou has reached the Africa Cup of Nations grand final with Ivory Coast. 

As for Bayern, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Bouna Sarr, Konrad Laimer and Granada loanee Bryan Zaragoza are not in contention for the matchday squad due to injuries.

New addition Sacha Boey could make his first Bundesliga start after coming off the bench against Gladbach. 

But all eyes will be on Harry Kane, whose second-half strike against Die Fohlen took his seasonal league tally to 24 goals. 

Bayer Leverkusen potential starting line-up:

(3-4-3): Lukas Hradecky; Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Piero Hincapie; Jeremie Frimpong, Granit Xhaka, Robert Andrich, Alejandro Grimaldo; Florian Wurtz, Jonas Hofmann, Patrick Schick. 

Bayern Munich potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Sacha Boey, Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, Alphonso Davies; Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka; Jamal Musiala, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane; Harry Kane. 

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