Bundesliga Matchweek 13 preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich (Sat - 18:30h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Bayer Leverkusen take on Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Saturday in a crucial clash at the top of the table.

With RB Leipzig heavy favourites to beat FC Koln at home on matchday 13, both sides require a win to be assured of occupying top spot heading into the winter break.

Match preview

Leverkusen are flying at present, with Wednesday night's 4-0 hammering of Koln in the Rhine Derby representing their 10th win in 11 matches in all competitions.

Impressively, Peter Bosz's side are the last remaining unbeaten side in the Bundesliga after 12 matches. No side has ever gone unbeaten for an entire season in Germany's top flight, but Bosz will certainly not be allowing his players to think of that at this early stage of proceedings.

However, having narrowly missed out on a Champions League qualification place last season, Leverkusen look every inch a top four side this campaign. Mitchell Weiser and Moussa Diaby both struck within the opening 10 minutes in Cologne, with the hosts not even managing a single shot on target in the entire match.

Patrik Schick showed signs of returning to his best with another goal in the second half, before 17-year-old Florian Wirtz scored for the second successive match. The midfielder is already some player and will no doubt be firmly on Leverkusen's forthcoming opponents' radar, both in terms of shutting Wirtz down on Saturday and signing him in the future.

Indeed, with Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Javi Martinez all out injured for the Bavarians at the moment, Hansi Flick would dearly love to have a midfielder of Wirtz's talent and potential at his disposal.

The 55-year-old deployed an incredibly attacking 4-1-4-1 system against Wolfsburg on Wednesday, with Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman all lining up behind Robert Lewandowski. It would be fair to say Corentin Tolisso has had more comfortable nights at the base of the midfield.

However, Flick's side showed precisely why they are reigning domestic and European champions, ending their opponents' unbeaten record this season by grinding out a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

Lewandowski's brace either side of half time represented Bayern's only two shots on target across the entire 90 minutes, which was in stark contrast to Wolfsburg's tally of six including Maximilian Philipp's early opener.

However, with a world-class striker like the Poland international on the pitch, not as many clear-cut chances are generally required to be created in order to win games. Flick will be hoping this is the case on Saturday to ensure his side head into the New Year at the top of the league.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: WWDWWW
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): DWWWWW

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form: WDWDDW
Bayern Munich form (all competitions): WDDWDW

Team News

Leverkusen's form has been made all the impressive by the amount of long-term injuries they have sustained this season, with Bosz astonishingly only able to fill six of the available nine substitute slots in the draw against Hertha Berlin last month.

Santiago Arias, Exequiel Palacios and Paulinho all face lengthy spells on the sidelines, with Sven Bender and Charles Aranguiz struggling with muscle problems.

However, Bosz is finally blessed with the luxury of having strikers Schick and top goalscorer Lucas Alario simultaneously available, with the former preferred from the start in recent matches.

Bayern, as mentioned, are without midfielders Kimmich, Goretzka and Martinez, with the trio likely to return to first-team action after the winter break. Young defender Tanguy Nianzou is also out with a torn muscle.

Despite beating Wolfsburg in midweek, the balance of the side did not function correctly with five attackers, meaning that Jamal Musiala or Marc Roca are likely to partner Tolisso in midfield. Sane is most likely to be the forward spared.

Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies should also both return to the XI at full-back, with Niklas Sule dropping to the bench despite deputising well at right-back.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Wirtz, Baumgartlinger, Amiri; Bailey, Schick, Diaby

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Tolisso, Musiala; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski

Source: Sports Mole / Brett Curtis




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