Bayern Munich - Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Hosts can continue their 100 per cent record
Both teams are coming off the back of away victories in Europe in midweek, but the Bavarians have had the better of the Werkself in recent years
By Enis Koylu
Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Badstuber
Muller, Kroos, Shaqiri
Schwaab, Toprak, Wollscheid, Hosogai
Castro, Rolfes, Bender
Bellarabi, Kiessling, Schurrle
Bayern Munich are likely to be without the services of Franck Ribery, who was a doubt heading into Tuesday's clash with Lille, and lasted just 45 minutes against his old club.
Should the Frenchman fail to recover his fitness in time for Sunday's match, he will be replaced on the left wing by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Elsewhere, David Alaba continued his comeback from a foot injury with a short cameo in France, but is unlikely to start against Leverkusen, with Holger Badstuber continuing as a makeshift left-back and Dante starting in the middle.
Finally, Luiz Gustavo could replace Javi Martinez, who put in another disappointing performance for his new club in midweek, while Mario Mandzukic will continue up front, with Mario Gomez still recovering from pre-season ankle surgery.
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen are likely to be without Michal Kadlec, who limped out of Thursday's 4-0 win over Rapid Vienna in the 10th minute, after a heavy challenge. Lars Bender came from the bench to replace the defender, but took up a berth in midfield, with Hajime Hosogai slotting in at left-back.
The only other confirmed absence for Sami Hyypia's side is Renato Augusto, who has a torn thigh muscle. After scoring in the Austrian capital, Karim Bellarabi should retain his place on the right wing ahead of the fit-again Sidney Sam.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bayern Munich have conceded just twice in the Bundesliga this season. The last time an opponent scored against Manuel Neuer in Germany was on September 15.
- The Bavarians won this fixture last season 3-0, with Thomas Muller, Daniel Van Buyten and Arjen Robben grabbing the goals.
- Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos (pictured, right) spent 2009-10 on loan at the BayArena as a youngster looking for experience. Coach Jupp Heynckes also moved to the Allianz Arena from Leverkusen.
- Bayer Leverkusen are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but have drawn three of the five Bundesliga games in that run.
- The last time the Werkself claimed all three points at the Allianz Arena was on matchday 14 of the 1989-1990 season.
- Leverkusen beat Bayern 4-2 at home en route to the 2008-09 DFB-Pokal final, which they eventually went on to lose to Werder Bremen.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Bayern München 3-0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 19.98 %
FC Bayern München 2-0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 15.19 %
FC Bayern München 3-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 15.01 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Oct 5, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1 - FC Bayern München 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 16, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1 - FC Bayern München 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Oct 28, 2012||FC Bayern München 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 3, 2012||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 - FC Bayern München 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Sep 24, 2011||FC Bayern München 3 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0|
|FC Bayern München|
|Mar 8, 2014||VfL Wolfsburg 1 - FC Bayern München 6||GER1|
|Mar 1, 2014||FC Bayern München 5 - Schalke 04 1||GER1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Hannover 96 0 - FC Bayern München 4||GER1|
|Feb 19, 2014||Arsenal 0 - FC Bayern München 2||UCL|
|Feb 15, 2014||FC Bayern München 4 - SC Freiburg 0||GER1|
Thomas Muller looks to be a permanent fixture in the Roten first team once more after spending a couple of months in and out of the starting line-up. This is down to the fantastic run of form which has seen him score eight goals this season in all competitions. And, with Leverkusen missing their first-choice left-back, Michal Kadlec, he could be in for another fruitful afternoon's work.
Following the long saga involving Bayern's pursuit of a central midfielder over the summer, and its ultimate conclusion - the €40 million transfer of Javi Martinez - all eyes will inevitably be on Lars Bender on Sunday. The Germany international was a long-time target for the Bavarians, and given the Spaniard's poor form this season, he could show the hosts what they are missing.
Bayern Munich's squad are simply in the form of their lives at the moment, and I'd fully expect that to continue when they face Leverkusen. Of course, the Werkself are in a good run of form on their own, but the Bavarians present a far more credible challenge than the likes of Mainz, and Heynckes' side should be able to record a fairly routine victory.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed