The only two Bundesliga sides boasting 100% records will face off on Friday when perennial champions Bayern Munich welcome Bayer Leverkusen to the Allianz Arena.
|Xabi Alonso||Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
After losing 3-0 to RB Leipzig in the DFL-Supercup, Bayern quickly put that disappointment aside to make an ominous start to the league campaign. Werder Bremen were comfortably dispatched via a 4-0 scoreline, before Bayern beat fellow Bavarian side Augsburg 3-1 in their first home game of the Bundesliga season.
Bayern maintained their 100% start by ending their five-game winless run in meetings with Borussia Mönchengladbach in their final game before the international break. The German champions looked set to endure another frustrating outing against die Fohlen when Ko Itakura opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. However, Thomas Tuchel’s side staged a second-half turnaround as goals from Leroy Sané and Mathys Tel ensured Bayern left Borussia-Park with maximum points.
Before Bayern can turn their focus to Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Manchester United, they must negotiate a tricky fixture against potential title rivals Bayer Leverkusen. After cruising to a 4-0 victory in their most recent meeting with die Werkself, Bayern will be confident of claiming all three points on Friday.
Manuel Neuer and Raphael Guerreiro remains sidelined for the hosts, while there are doubts surrounding Joshua Kimmich’s availability after the midfielder picked up a knock while on international duty with Germany.
In more positive news, Musiala has used the international break to recover from a back problem which kept him out of Bayern’s last two matches.
Leverkusen have continued to build upon the foundations laid by Xabi Alonso last season after the Spaniard guided the club to the Europa League semi-finals and a sixth-place finish. Following a busy summer of transfer activity, there are signs in the early stages of the season that Leverkusen have built a side capable of competing at the top of the table. After edging out RB Leipzig in a five-goal thriller, Leverkusen eased to a 3-0 victory over Gladbach, before claiming another comfortable win in their most recent outing against Darmstadt.
A Victor Boniface brace as well as goals from Exequiel Palacios, Jonas Hofmann, Adam Hložek guided Leverkusen to a 5-1 victory over their newly-promoted opponents, ensuring they entered the international break as league leaders due to their superior goal difference.
While the early indications are positive, Leverkusen’s title credentials will be put under the microscope on Friday. They may have failed to win on their last three trips to the Allianz Arena (D1, L2), but they can take confidence from their most recent meeting with Bayern in March, which produced a narrow 2-1 victory at the BayArena.
Alonso is unable to call upon the services of Arthur and Patrik Schick, while Timothy Fonus-Mensah is a doubt after being absent from the last two matchday squads with an injury issue.