Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen

First meets third in the standout Bundesliga fixture on Saturday, with Bayern Munich hosting Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena.

The hosts are well on track to record a 10th consecutive league title after extending their lead at the summit last weekend, whilst the visitors returned to winning ways to strengthen their hold on a top-four spot.

With Borussia Dortmund only managing to earn a point at relegation-threatened Augsburg last Sunday, Bayern’s narrow victory over Eintracht Frankfurt earlier in the day resulted in their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table being extended from six to eight points on matchday 24.

In addition, with BVB’s fixture at Mainz 05 on Sunday being postponed, the hosts are presented with the chance of further extending their advantage to 11 points by the end of the weekend.

Having held similar considerable advantages on two separate occasions earlier in the season, manager Julian Nagelsmann will be eager for his side to get the title wrapped up at the earliest possible opportunity, and avoid any potential slip-ups to allow Dortmund back in once more.

For much of last weekend’s trip to the Deutsche Bank Park, it appeared as though the Bavarians would be frustrated in their efforts to record the three points, but Leroy Sane’s goal in the 71st minute was enough to ease the nerves following a number of missed opportunities earlier in the game.

Not only will the result have pleased Nagelsmann though, a first clean sheet in six games will have also been welcomed by the former RB Leipzig boss during a wobbly period for his defence during the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in recent weeks.

Despite the step up in calibre of opponent on Saturday, Bayern will be expected to make it three wins in a row when Leverkusen visit the Allianz Arena, especially when recent meetings are taken into account.

The 5-1 hammering of their opponents back at the BayArena in October was a statement victory for Bayern, and was a wake up call for Leverkusen in their early-season title challenge at the time.

Braces from Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, as well as a goal from Thomas Muller in between, saw Nagelsmann’s men race into a remarkable 5-0 lead inside the opening 37 minutes, and made for a comfortable afternoon in Bayern’s fifth straight win over Leverkusen in all competitions.

Meanwhile, despite a drop off in form after that humiliation back in October, as well as another concerning dip prior to the winter break, Leverkusen have picked themselves up at the beginning of 2022.

Although their unexpected title challenge prior to the heavy defeat to Saturday’s opponents is well in the past now, with a 14-point gap between the sides heading into their meeting, Gerardo Seoane’s men have still undergone a successful season up to this point.

Sixteen points from a possible 21 to begin the year mean Die Werkself find themselves in third place ahead of their trip to the Allianz Arena, with a four-point advantage over Leipzig, Freiburg and Hoffenheim directly below them in the table in the race for a Champions League place.

A difficult trip to the league leaders on matchday 25 this weekend means that gap is likely to be cut, but Leverkusen look set to end a two-year absence from Europe’s grand stage if they can maintain their strong form between now and May.

The absence of top goalscorer Patrik Schick did little to halt their success in front of goal when Arminia Bielefeld visited the BayArena last weekend, with the deputising Lucas Alario netting the opening goal, and a further brace from Moussa Diaby in the second half seeing Leverkusen cruise to a comfortable 3-0 win.

Like Bayern, the clean sheet was perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the performance and result, with the shutout against the relegation candidates being the first that Seoane’s men had recorded in a remarkable 14 outings.

A similar defensive display is sure to be required for Leverkusen to pick up a positive result on Saturday, and the encounter could well have a big impact on their Champions League qualification aspirations between now and the end of the season.

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:
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Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
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Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
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We say: Bayern Munich 4-2 Bayer Leverkusen
With both of these sides so prolific in front of goal this season, and with many of their recent meetings producing a considerable amount of goals and entertainment, we are predicting another goal fest on Saturday.

Both teams have also suffered from shaky defences in the lead up to their clean sheets last weekend, so both will look to capitalise in the final third, but ultimately, Bayern should possess too much for their visitors as they continue their charge to a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title.

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