Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Prediction, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info

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Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Prediction, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info
Michael Probst/Associated Press
Franck Ribery can be the danger man for Bayern.

Bayern Munich host Bayer Leverkusen in an intriguing matchup at the Allianz Area on Saturday evening.

The visitors have only managed two wins in their last 12, losing nine per WhoScored.com. However they are one of only two teams to have stopped the Bayern machine from winning in the Bundesliga this season.

Furthermore, Leverkusen have taken points off of Die Roten in three out of the last four meetings.

Since the last meeting on October 5, 2013 Bayern have, incredibly, won every single league match per WhoScored. It's a run of form that is unmatched anywhere in the world this season.

Pep Guardiola has the luxury of being 20 points ahead at the top of the Bundesliga so will surely take the chance to rotate his side after the Champions League exertions in midweek.

A win for Sami Hyypia's Bayer side will see them keep on the coat-tails of Borussia Dortmund in second place and ahead of Schalke below them on goal difference only.

 

When: Saturday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. GMT/ 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

TV Info: Live on BT Sport 2/BT Sport 2 HD

Live Stream: BT Sport App

 

Key Storylines

Michael Probst/Associated Press
Leverkusen must not allow Pep Guardiola's side to impose their passing game.

Bayern's top-scorer Mario Mandzukic is ruled out of this one, but the goal threat from Die Roten remains.

Thiago Alcantara has settled well and his probing and creativity gives licence for any of the home side's front line to get forward and in amongst the goals.

More than capable of weighing in with his fair share is Franck Ribery down Bayern's left side.

The Frenchman's threat is obvious and he has as many assists (eight) as he has goals. He's also consistently one of the team's top performers, according to WhoScored.

Bayer's right-back Roberto Hilbert therefore has his work cut out, and he may find his own attacking forays are curtailed.

Against the robust Ribery, the defender must be aggressive and disruptive but a single yellow card all season suggests that here is player that prefers to get forward rather than concentrating on his primary role.

As a unit however, the visitors work well defensively. According to Opta, via Yahoo/Eurosport, Leverkusen have completed 1,146 interceptions, blocks or clearances. Significantly more than Bayern's 684. 

Both teams' duel win percentage is the same at 52 percent, perhaps highlighting that if the likes of Stefan Reinartz, Emre Can and Lars Bender can get in amongst it, then Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lahm won't have things all their own way in the midfield areas.

Stefan Kiessling's role for the visitors is also crucial. More than capable of ploughing his own furrow up front, his hold up play can bring Bender et al into the game.

A decent goals to games ratio of one in two per WhoScored, could trouble the Bayern defence given half the chance.

The key to the entire match however is to stop Bayern from getting their passing game going

Guardiola's teams thrive on passing their opponents to death and having completed an astonishing 15,352 short passes compared to Leverkusen's 8,912 over the season, tells it's own story.

 

Team News

Christophe Ena/Associated Press/Associated Press
Sidney Sam was excellent in Paris in midweek.

After impressing in the midweek fixture at Paris Saint Germain, Omer Toprak returns to the Leverkusen back four after suspension, partnering Emir Spahic.

After his goal and performance in midweek, Sidney Sam should keep his place down the right side at the expense of in-form Gonzalo Castro.

Guardiola's only selection dilemmas are whether he brings Dante back in for this one, dropping Javi Martinez to the bench, and who plays wide right.

With controversy still surrounding Arjen Robben's antics during the Champions League game against Arsenal, the Dutchman could be taken out of the firing line with the able Mario Goetze taking his place.

 

Prediction

Since the draw between the two sides, Bayern have scored 56 and conceded eight in 16 games. Simply put, they are unstoppable, with the Allianz Arena their fortress.

They are still unbeaten in the league this season and it would take a brave man to bet against that sequence continuing. "Das Spiel" may be just that person, noting on his Twitter account:

Sami Hyypia's only chance of springing a huge surprise is if Pep Guardiola makes wholesale changes and his charges take Leverkusen too lightly.

Given the Catalan's renowned professionalism, this is unlikely to be the case and it'll be a step too far for the visitors.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen

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