The defending champions Bayern Munich will host Leverkusen in a Bundesliga clash on Saturday at 15:30 GMT, as the Bavarians seek to retain or extend their eight-point advantage at the top of the table ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Can Bayern Munich Extend their Winning Run to Three Consecutive Matches?
Julian Nagelsmann’s side’s three-match winning run was ended with a 4-2 defeat against VfL Bochum. They responded to this defeat with two consecutive wins, and they will be looking to make it three against Leverkusen on Saturday.
With ten matches remaining in the Bundesliga season, and with an eight-point lead at the top of the table, Julian Nagelsmann will be seeking consistency and a cutting edge from his side in the match against Leverkusen as they look to wrap the title up.
Can Leverkusen Cause an Upset and Bolster their Champions League Qualification Chances?
Leverkusen are in the middle of a top four race with ten matches remaining in the season.
They currently lie four points ahead of RB Leipzig, SC Freiburg, and Hoffenheim, who all have 40 points, and ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively.
The match against Bayern Munich presents a massive opportunity to take a step forward in their pursuit for the top four and next year’s Champions League participation.
In the last six rounds of Bundesliga matches, Bayern Munich have won five times and lost once.
In this run, the Bavarians have collected 15 points while dropping three.
Within this run, Bayern was held to a 1-1 draw by RB Salzburg in the Champions League round of 16 first leg.
The stop-start form for Bayern will be a cause of worry for Nagelsmann ahead of hosting the in-form Leverkusen on Saturday.
Leverkusen have been one of the most in-form sides in the Bundesliga in the last six rounds of fixtures. In this run, they have won five matches and lost one.
They have collected 15 points and dropped three, while picking up a +12 goal difference in the process.
This run has seen Leverkusen open up a 4-point gap to the fourth-placed RB Leipzig, Freiburg and Hoffenheim.
Central midfielder Leon Goretzka is a long-term absentee for Bayern; the 27-year-old German international is side-lined with hip problems from December 2021.
Left-back Alphonso Davies is also a major doubt for the clash against Leverkusen on Saturday as he recovers from a heart condition.
Number one goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is not ready for a return yet, with the 35-year-old captain recovering from knee surgery.
Bayern will also be without central midfielder Corentin Tolisso, who is out with a torn muscle fibre.
Leverkusen will be without the services of long-term absentee Julian Baumgarttlinger for the clash with Bayern. The 34-year-old defensive midfielder underwent knee surgery on August 23rd, 2021.
Goalkeeper Andrey Lunez is also missing with a ligament tear. The 30-year-old is expected to be back in the first-team fold in the middle of March.
Right winger Karim Bellarabi (hamstring) and centre-forward Patrik Schick (torn muscle fibre) are also doubts for the clash with Bayern on Saturdays.
Possible Starting Lineups
Hernandez, N. Sule, D. Upamecano; K. Coman, M. Sabitzer, J. Kimmich, B. Pavard; J. Musiala, S. Gnabry; R. Lewandowski
Hradecky; J. Frimpong, J. Tah, E. Tapsoba, M. Bakher; C. Aranguiz, E. Palacios; M. Diaby, F. Wirtz, Paulinho; L. Alario
Players to Watch
With 37 goals and three assists in 31 appearances this season, Lewandowski is one of the best strikers, and players, in world football. He is a crucial cog for Bayern in their title race.
The Polish international will be central in Bayern’s quest to beat in-form Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
The French professional winger has been central to Leverkusen’s current good run of form. This was demonstrated by his brace last time out against Arminia.
He will be central to Leverkusen’s bid to cause an upset at the hope of the Bundesliga Champions.
Expect Bayern to dominate possession with their high-tempo approach and building from the back.
Leverkusen will strategically apply a low-medium press to counter Bayern’s approach. This will give them a chance to counter-press without being too open.
Bayern will have too much for Leverkusen; they will take all three points.
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