It took quite an effort from Bayern Munich to defeat Hoffenheim and maintain the perfect start to the new season and they now face another difficult task at their Allianz Arena. While winning their first two league fixtures, Bayer Leverkusen also pipped Lazio to a place in the Champions League group stages and they head into the high-profile encounter high on confidence.
Bayern Munich did well to win another Bundesliga title in style, but they crashed out in the Champions League semi-finals, while also losing the DFB Pokal final to arch rivals Borussia Dortmund, so it is clear that the club chiefs were far from satisfied with the outcome of the previous season. They once again made quite an effort to help coach Pep Guardiola further strengthen his squad and in came two world-class players this summer. But, while Arturo Vidal has yet to shine having struggled for fitness of late, Douglas Costa has already hinted he could prove to be one of club’s best signings in recent years. The tricky winger has had a very important role to play in last two matches, helping the Bavarians hammer Hamburg at the start of the league campaign before having a hand in both goals scored by Bayern at Hoffenheim. Pep Guardiola’s charges showed a great deal of character to score a late winner after being reduced to ten men, but the game would have probably unfolded differently had Eugen Polanski converted a late penalty. The reality is that Guardiola’s three-man back line has looked far from impressive of late and with two more central defenders unavailable for the Leverkusen clash, keeping a clean sheet could prove an impossible task. While Jerome Boateng is banned, the likes of Mehdi Benatia, Holger Badstuber and Jan Kirchhoff are out injured, whereas Dante is unlikely to feature as he nears summer exit.
Bayer Leverkusen might not have been able to challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title in recent years, but they appear to have special inspiration when facing their more illustrious opponents. Die Werkself boast a 3-2-3 record in last eight meetings with the Bavarians, and it is important to note they have only failed to score in two of those games. This is one of the reasons why we feel that Roger Schmidt’s side might prove a tough nut to crack at Allianz Arena, and knowing of Bayern’s defensive struggles, they will not be afraid to attack the hosts every time an opportunity arises. Bayer Leverkusen players have every reason to feel optimistic ahead of the trip to Munich seeing as they have won four of five competitive fixtures this term. Die Werkself produced a near-perfect performance to hammer Lazio 3-0 and secure their progress into the Champions League group stages, and they will definitely be looking to build on that display. The visitors have problems of their own given that Omer Toprak, Charles Aranguiz and Tin Jedvaj remain sidelined, while Heung-Min Son has left the club to sign for Tottenham Hotspur.
With the back line likely to consist of Rafinha, Alonso and Alaba, Bayern Munich cannot be trusted to keep a clean sheet, and they will also have problems trying to outclass very good Leverkusen side. Die Werkself appear to be in very good form at the moment and we wouldn’t be surprised if they avoid defeat at Allianz Arena.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 5/6