Second-placed Bayern Munich are eager to assert their authority in the Bundesliga with a win over current leaders Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday in their third top-of-the-table clash already this season.
Under Dutch coach Peter Bosz, Leverkusen are the only club still undefeated in the German league.
They are one point ahead of Bayern following Wednesday’s 4-0 clash against Cologne.
Bayern, on the other hand, needed two goals from Robert Lewandowski and saves from Manuel Neuer to see Wolfsburg 2-1 in midweek after drawing in their previous two games.
Growing injuries and a dense matchlist have taken their toll on Bayern who have looked tired in recent weeks.
Lewandowski, who won FIFA’s Best Player of the Year on Thursday, said Saturday’s clash gives Bayern a chance to shake off any fatigue in their final 2020 league game before a break two-week winter.
“A lot of it is in the head, we just have to step on the accelerator, no matter how good Leverkusen – we have to win the last game,” said Lewandowski, who has scored 18 goals in 17 games this season.
After winning the Champions League, German Cup, Bundesliga and UEFA Super Cup over the past 12 months, Bayern coach Hansi Flick wants to “finish a great 2020” with three points left. ‘outside.
This is the third top-of-the-table clash Bayern have seen recently, including their 3-2 victory at then-second Dortmund, in November and a 3-3 draw at home against Leipzig a fortnight ago. .
Leverkusen were the last team to beat Bayern at home – in any competition – when Jamaican winger Leon Bailey scored twice in a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena in late November 2019.
“Everyone is beatable,” stressed Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri.
“You have to have a lot of heart, show a lot of will, we definitely have quality. ”
His team shone with goals from Mitchell Weiser, Moussa Diaby, Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz, 17, in Cologne, whose head coach Markus Gisdol insisted Leverkusen is currently “on another level”.
Bosz says Leverkusen “plays with confidence and good humor”, but Bayern always provide a test for any rival who aspires to the title.
Third-placed RB Leipzig, just one point behind Leverkusen, face Cologne just above the relegation zone.
Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said three home points were ‘very, very important’ in their final league game of 2020 to cap a year that saw them reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time.
To watch: Moussa Diaby
The France Under-21 winger was exceptional in Leverkusen’s beating against Cologne, crushing an early goal and providing the cross for Patrik Schick to score Leverkusen’s third.
On Thursday it was confirmed that the 21-year-old has signed a contract extension that ties him to Leverkusen until 2025.
He has scored 13 goals and created 14 more in 58 games since joining Leverkusen from Paris Saint-Germain last year.
2 – Leverkusen’s victories over Bayern in the last 10 games between the clubs, including home and away wins in 2019.
28 – Schalke’s winless streak on the lower side, stretching back to January, leaving them three short of the unwanted league record heading into Saturday’s home game against Arminia Bielefeld.
251 – Bundesliga goals Lewandowski scored for Bayern and former club Borussia Dortmund. Only legend Gerd Mueller and Schalke striker Klaus Fischer have already crossed the milestone of 250 league goals.
Fixtures (1330GMT unless otherwise stated)
Union Berlin v Borussia Dortmund (1930)
RB Leipzig v Cologne, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Hoffenheim, Schalke 04 v Arminia Bielefeld, Mainz 05 v Werder Bremen, Augsburg v Eintracht Francfort, Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich (1730)
Friborg v Hertha Berlin, VfL Wolfsburg v VfB Stuttgart (1700)
© 2020 AFP