Bayern Munich will be traveling to the BayArena on Friday night to face Bayer Leverkusen in their first Bundesliga game since the winter break.
Leverkusen have enjoyed a very successful start to the season. Die Werkself at present sit 4th in the league, just two points behind second place Schalke 04. The main stars for Leverkusen this season have been Kevin Volland & Leon Bailey; with the latter popping up with important goals at crucial times for Leverkusen so far this season.
As for the Bavarian’s they sit top, 11 points ahead of second place Schalke 04. In the first half of the season, Bayern began brilliantly with a 3-1 win over Leverkusen. However an uncharacteristic dip in form saw Carlo Ancelotti lose his job, & subsequently be replaced by Jupp Heynckes. The German coach turned things around for Bayern & soon they found themselves back at the top of the table.
In the 2003/04 season Bayer Leverkusen traveled to the Olympiastadion to face champions Bayern Munich, in what was an early season crunch match between the two favorites for the BuLi title.
To the surprise of Bayern fans, it was the away side who took the lead through defender Carsten Ramelow.
Bayern soon responded to going one down, & scored just 15 minutes later through their main man Roy Makaay. Just a few minutes later however the away scored again, this time through Brazilian striker Franca, giving Leverkusen the led at the break.
The home side came out the quicker of the two in the second period, however they went a man down as Ze Roberto was given his marching orders. The sending off didn’t faze Bayern, & they equalized straight away through former Blackburn man Roque Santa Cruz.
Michael Ballack gave Bayern the lead shortly after, however the drama didn’t end there. With nine minutes remaining Yildiray Basturk equalized & in doing so earned a point for his side, as the game finished 3-3.
Bayern finished second that season, with Werder Bremen pipping them to the title. As for Leverkusen, they finished third, just three points behind Bayern.
Leverkusen come into the game in great form. Die Werkself are unbeaten in their last 14 in all competitions, picking up eight wins along the way. Bailey has been in terrific form of late, & scored the winner last time out against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the third round of the DFB Pokal.
Bayern come into the game fresh off their 2-1 win at home in the DFB Pokal against rivals Borussia Dortmund. With six wins in their last six games in all competitions, manager Heynckes really has turned things around for the Bavarians, & they look on course for a record 28th Bundesliga title.
German internationals Karim Bellarabi & Benjamin Henrichs are doubts for the game, with the pair suffering with minor injuries.
Both Mats Hummels & Robert Lewandowski are set to miss the trip to Leverkusen as the duo make continue to recover from injury.
Bayer Leverkusen (4-2-3-1): Leno – Retsos, Tah, S.Bender, Wendell – L.Bender, Aranguiz – Bailey, Havertz, Brandt – Volland.
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Sule, Alaba – Vidal, Tolisso – Robben, James, Ribery – Wagner.
This game will be totally different to that of their last encounter, in which Bayern won 3-1. Leverkusen will look to be more compact this time around & will be hoping to catch Bayern on the counter attack.
Regardless of being without Lewandowski, Bayern do have enough fire power up front & a win for the away side is on the cards.