Jupp Heynckes with the club he took over after leaving his former club against Jupp Heynckes’ former club he took over after leaving his current club. Similar things could be said about Toni Kroos and Michael Ballack but that one should’ve caused enough confusion. Bayern against Leverkusen, the battle of the turn of the millennium. Who’s gonna miss Arturo Vidal more?
First, a short look back to last weekend: Bayern had to play at Schalke on Sunday. Aside from the incidents you read more than enough about already, there’s not too much to be said: It was an at times shaky but always deserved win. The defense wasn’t 100% bulletproof (that I even have to mention this perfectly demonstrates the progress of the defensive system) and the offense hardly ever seemed to give it everything. Maybe they knew that they never had to. A great run by Franck Ribery (faster with ball than other, usually very fast people without!) that Nils Petersen gave the final touch and a for Thomas Müller easy goal were enough to leave Gelsenkirchen with three points and another clean sheet, although this one tasted a lot better than the usual one, for obvious reasons.
So, what can be expected today? If I knew the answer, I’d be a rich man. Leverkusen’s offense almost in its entirety appears to be doubtful (Dr Dennis Aogo says: “Bullshit, they’re just pretending.”). Is the team motivated or hamstrung? They lost the last match at home, 1-4 against the local rival.
And what about Bayern? A week without playing a match can be a good or a bad thing. Breno’s personal problems might affect them as well. Again, if I knew the answer…
Lineup-wise, it’s no surprise that we’re gonna get to see two 4-2-3-1 formations (Leverkusen’s can easily change into a 4-1-4-1). Mario Gomez and Luiz Gustavo are fit, Arjen Robben is more or less fit. I only expect one of those three to start and that’s Mario Gomez. Robben might enter the pitch after an hour or so and Gustavo is probably supposed to play on Tuesday and we all know what that means, right Tymo? Expect the lineup used against Villarreal from minute 23 on. I’m not even gonna speculate on Leverkusen’s starting eleven, the only thing we know is that Andre Schürrle won’t play due to a 3-match ban.
Today’s referee is Manuel Gräfe. His Bundesliga performances this season haven’t been exactly brilliant so far. On the other hand, the last Bayern match he refereed was the 5-1 home win against…you guessed it, Bayer Leverkusen. Repeat the feat!