Leaders Bayer Leverkusen will welcome Bayern Munich to the BayArena for Saturday’s crucial top-of-the-table clash.
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Leverkusen's memorable campaign continues to go from strength to strength after Xabi Alonso saw his side come from behind on two occasions to beat Stuttgart in Tuesday’s DFB-Pokal quarter-final. Robert Andrich and Amine Adli found the net to cancel out goals from Waldemar Anton and Chris Führich respectively. Just as the contest appeared to be heading towards extra-time, Jonathan Tah headed home a 90th-minute winner to send Leverkusen through to the final four.
As a result of the midweek victory, Leverkusen have avoided defeat in all 30 of their competitive games this season. Die Werkself will now turn their attention back to league matters, where they are currently involved in a captivating title race with the reigning champions. Having won 16 and drawn four of their 20 league matches, Leverkusen currently enjoy a two-point lead over Bayern at the top of the table.
Impressively, die Werkself currently boast the best defensive record in the top flight, having conceded just 14 goals. They have also kept clean sheets in five of their last six Bundesliga matches, and they will need all of that defensive resilience against Bayern on Saturday.
Leverkusen are without the injured trio of Arthur, Exequiel Palacios and Victor Boniface, while Odilon Kossounou is on international duty with the Ivory Coast.
In contrast to their hosts, Bayern have had the whole week to prepare for Saturday’s trip to the BayArena. Thomas Tuchel’s side bounced back from a surprise defeat against Werder Bremen to put together a three-game winning run. They recorded narrow victories over Union Berlin and Augsburg, before they claimed a 3-1 home win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. After falling behind in the 35th minute, Bayern turned the game in their favour thanks to goals from Aleksandar Pavlović, Harry Kane and Matthijs de Ligt.
Having racked up 59 goals in 20 matches this season, the Bavarians are currently the highest scorers in the top flight. They are hoping to showcase that firepower on Saturday as they go in search of a win that would move them to the top of the table.
Bayern have failed to win either of their last two games against Leverkusen. The Bavarians fell to a 2-1 defeat in last season’s away clash, before they conceded a stoppage-time penalty to draw 2-2 in September’s reverse fixture.
The first goal could be crucial if they are to claim all three points, as Bayern have won all six away league games where they have scored the opening goal.
Tuchel has confirmed that Alphonso Davies will miss the game after sustaining an injury against Gladbach. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also a doubt due to a knee problem. Meanwhile, Bayern remain without the services of Bouna Sarr, Daniel Peretz, Serge Gnabry, Konrad Laimer and Kingsley Coman.