It is easy to look at the talent on Bayer Leverkusen’s roster and surmise that the squad’s current standing in ninth place of the Bundesliga table represents a huge disappointment.
With Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt, Leon Bailey, Kevin Volland, and Karim Bellarabi as integral pieces of Die Werkself’s offense, a lackluster Hinrunde showing, as well as the seemingly stunted development of Brandt and Bailey ultimately cost Heiko Herrlich his job.
To provide a solution, Leverkusen hired Peter Bosz in an effort to salvage the season for the team, while also hoping to get players like Brandt and Bailey back to the dangerous and persistent form they displayed last season.
After dropping a 1-0 decision to Borussia Monchengladbach in his first game, Bosz led Leverkusen to a 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg on Match Day 19, which gave the rest of the Bundesliga a glimpse of how Bosz will try to influence his young and talented roster.
As Volland told Reuters, Bosz is trying to help Leverkusen regain its once dangerous form:
Peter Bosz likes to play an attacking game where we are dangerous over 90 minutes. We like to attack, we want possession, and I am confident we are going to be more consistent over 90 minutes in the coming weeks.
Bosz is excited for the match-up with Bayern Munich and is eager to see his team square-up with such a formidable opponent.
It is a meeting of two teams who like to go on the attack. This is always something good for the fans. Bayern have to win and they really want it. But if possible, I will happily do my former club (Borussia Dortmund) a favor. Should we win, it will be only for us, though.
For Leverkusen, a big key against Bayern and for the rest of the season will be the play of Brandt and Bailey on the flanks. Just a year ago, the duo was discussed in some circles as a “next generation” replacement for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at Bayern, but it has been a largely underwhelming year for the wingers, which has had a trickle-down effect on the entire team’s performance.
As for Robben and Ribery, the tandem has out-performed their younger counterparts this season despite suffering through various ailments. Bayern coach Niko Kovac hoped to have both players back in the lineup for the game against Die Werkself, but the veteran duo is not yet ready for action.
#Kovac: "@FranckRibery and Arjen #Robben aren't quite ready yet. We don't want to take any risks. @Thiago6 didn't train today, but will be back tomorrow." #B04FCB #FCBayern #packmas pic.twitter.com/wDu7Hw7udm— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) January 31, 2019
It will be a fascinating juxtaposition to watch the wingers for each team and how they impact the game regardless of who Kovac uses out wide in place of “Robbery.”
In addition to Brandt and Bailey, Bayern fans and club officials alike, are sure to have their eyes on Havertz. Havertz, of course, is considered Germany’s brightest teenage star and Bayern has been rumored to be pursuing a potential move for the youngster. Leverkusen, however, does not appear eager to let the phenom go any time soon.