There is a top-of-the-table clash at the BayArena in the Bundesliga on Sunday, when second-placed Bayer Leverkusen host leaders and reigning champions Bayern Munich.
The two sides are separated only on goal difference heading into the fixture, and factoring in the recent meetings between the two with the fact they are the division’s two highest scorers, an entertaining encounter is to be expected.
Life at Leverkusen could not have started much better for manager Gerardo Seoane, since his arrival in the summer from Swiss side Young Boys.
After tasting just a single defeat and winning eight of his first 10 matches in charge across all competitions, it is fair to say that the gamble in his appointment has paid off so far.
Seoane has got Die Werkself playing an entertaining high pressure and attacking style of play, with 18-year-old Florian Wirtz being at the centre of most attacking transitions, notching up four goals and five assists in just six Bundesliga appearances so far this campaign.
The 20 goals netted in the league to date is second only to Sunday’s opponents Bayern, whilst conceding just the seven is proof of the side’s impressive efforts at the other end of the pitch too.
A 4-3 defeat at home to Borussia Dortmund is the only setback during the 2021-22 season as it stands, and Seoane will be determined to show that his team can compete and achieve results in the bigger tests as well, with there being no larger occasion to demonstrate this than against the reigning champions on Sunday.
However, their recent record against the Bavarians is not ideal, with losses in each of the last four encounters, and just two victories in the last 14 meetings.
As for the visitors, new manager Julian Nagelsmann has achieved an almost identical record to his opposite number on Sunday, during his short tenure in Munich so far.
Defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt before the international break was the first that the former RB Leipzig boss has had to taste, with the loss proving to be a slight reality check after a near-perfect start prior to it – one draw and nine straight wins across all competitions before the setback.
Despite blowing away most opponents with some breathtaking football before facing off against Frankfurt, Die Bayern somehow failed to score more than once, with Leon Goretzka’s first-half goal being pegged back immediately, before a late goal from Filip Kostic saw the reigning champions fall to a rare setback at the Allianz Arena.
Nagelsmann will be keen to ensure that the result means very little come the end of the season, and that it will soon be forgotten about by bouncing back at the BayArena on Sunday.
It is likely that it happens to be just a small blip in the road, but were Bayern to slip up again at the weekend, they would be handing a boost to their potential title-challenging opponents, as well as handing confidence to the rest of the division for when they face off against the Bavarians in the future.
Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:
Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
We say: Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Bayern Munich
On paper this looks to be an exciting match for the neutral on Sunday, with a number of goals usually being scored in these meetings, and the two sides being the highest scorers so far this campaign.
The hosts are flying at the moment and will look to put as much pressure as possible on their visitors, in order to pounce on any doubts after their first defeat prior to the break, but it is difficult to separate the two so a draw is a likely outcome.