Bayer Leverkusen have a perfect chance to erase 119 years of heartache when they host Bundesliga title rivals Bayern Munich in an epic confrontation on Saturday evening. Die Werkself (The Company Eleven) are the only remaining unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues and lead the Bavarians by two points after twenty rounds of action. Anything less than victory will cast aspersions over their ability to ward off the challenge from a side that’s lifted trophy for eleven consecutive seasons.
Xabi Alonso’s Die Schwarzroten (The Black and Reds) underlined their resilience by twice fighting back from a goal down to outlast Stuttgart 3-2 in a DFB Pokal (German Cup) quarterfinal on Wednesday. Regular custodian Lukas Hradecky should return to the starting line up after being rested in favour of Matej Kovar while Robert Andrich made a case for keeping his starting slot in place of Exequiel Palacios by scoring a leveller early in the second half.
Two of Germany’s creative generational talents lock horns when Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, who on Wednesday inspired their comeback with two assists pits his creative wits against Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala. German boss Julian Nagelsmann will be an interesting spectator as he tries to work out a formula to accommodate the pair in his national team set up.
Bayern Munich’s 24-goal front man Harry Kane will keep Leverkusen’s three man defense of Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba and Piero Hincapie on their toes while in the enforced absence of Victor Boniface, the Bay Arena outfit’s new Spanish signing Borja Iglesias will share the goal scoring responsibilities with Patrick Schick. Allianz Arena academy product Aleksandr Pavlovic will cover for the injured Joshua Kimmich in holding midfield.
Bundesliga action commences on Friday night with Borussia Dortmund seeking to bounce back from last week’s goalless draw at Heidenheim when they host a Freiburg outfit still licking their wounds from a 1-3 pummelling at the hands of Stuttgart. Marco Rose’s Rosenball Leipzig target a second successive victory away to Augsburg as they seek a way back into the top four whereas newly promoted Heidenheim defend a seven match unbeaten sequence away to on form Werder Bremen.
Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg
Union Berlin v Wolfsburg,
Frankfurt v Bochum,
Gladbach v Darmstadt,
Werder Bremen v Heidenheim,
Augsburg v RB Leipzig,
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
Stuttgart v Mainz,
Hoffenheim v Koln