Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich: Bundesliga – live | Bundesliga
9 min A hitherto passive Leverkusen pick their moment to press, and Dier has to slide desperately to stop Wirtz nicking the ball off him and moving through on goal. It wasn’t Dier’s fault, really; Goretzka gave him a dodgy pass.
6 min There’s been an early goal in the match between Real Madrid and Girona. Niall McVeigh is watching that one.
5 min Loads of early possession for Bayern, with Leverkusen sitting surprisingly deep.
2 min As expected, Bayern have homaged Leverkusen’s 3-4-2-1 formation, but Sacha Boey has started at left wing-back with Noussair Mazraoui staying on the right.
1 min In the words of Etta James, thank eff for that. The match begins around eight minutes after the scheduled start, with Bayern kicking from right to left as we watch.
“When Harry met Xabi,” is the subject of Peter Oh’s email. “Wow, a Bundesliga MBM! To whom do we owe this special treat? A certain Herr Harald Kähn, I presume? No offense to Herr Erich Daier.”
Heh, I reckon we’d have covered this anyway. And in May 2020, the Guardian was Bundesliga central.
The pitch is still being cleared, and the referee has gone across to talk to the two benches.
0 min In fact the kick off has been delayed: fans have thrown a load of sweets and toy balls onto the field, the latest protest against potential outside investment in the Bundesliga. Good on them.
Free candy all over the field, eh.
1 min Now is the time for wine and cigarettes football.
Here come the players. Harry Kane has his game face well and truly applied. This is his biggest club game since the Champions League final of 2019.
“The mind boggles!” says Joe Pearson. “Two wannabe Leicesters are both facing their main rivals for their respective league titles at the exact same time. Which one should I watch? I certainly think the Alonso angle makes Leverkusen more interesting, so I’m riding with you (apologies to Niall).”
You should follow both – we don’t believe in blogogamy round these parts. (Also, I’m not quite sure Leverkusen are a wannabe Leicester – they’ve been runners-up five times and reached the Champions League final in the wine-and-cigarettes spring of 2002. I can’t think of an English comparison, at least not in my lifetime.)
How Bayern could line up
In fact this formation makes a lot more sense with the XI that Thomas Tuchel has picked.
Both managers have made interesting choices, which puts them one up on Grady Tripp. Xabi Alonso has picked the young Moroccan striker Amine Adli ahead of Patrick Schick and Borja Iglesias. Nathan Tella, once of Southampton and Burnley, and Josip Stanisic, who is on loan from Bayern, are surprisingly preferred to Jonas Hofmann and Jeremie Frimpong.
Kim Min-jae is back from the Asian Cup and replaces Thomas Muller. That means either Thomas Tuchel will copy Bayer’s 3-4-2-1 formation, or Eric Dier will move into midfield. The new signing Sacha Boey replaces the injured Alphonso Davies, with Noussair Mazraoui moving across to left-back. Joshua Kimmich is fit enough for the bench.
The Guardian understands Xabi Alonso is desperate to succeed Jurgen Klopp. No, not at Anfield, but as the last manager to stop Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga. Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund were champions in 2011-12, since when Bayern have won 11 titles in a row, many in second gear. Last season they couldn’t even give the thing away.
Dortmund, Bayern’s main challengers in recent years, have often flattered to deceive. Leverkusen could be made of sterner stuff. They haven’t lost a game all season in any competition, and their consistency is such that Bayern’s points total of 50 is a Bundesliga record for a team in second place after 20 games.
A win would put Leverkusen, who have never won the Bundesliga, five points clear with 13 matches to play. Victory for Bayern would put them top, end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run and change the mood of the title race at a stroke.