Bayer Leverkusen will be without their captain starting right-back Lars Bender ahead of their upcoming clash with Bayern Munich this Saturday. His place is likely to be taken by Bayern’s own former youth product Mitchell Weiser, whom Leverkusen brought from Hertha Berlin this past summer. Bayern, of course, will still have to deal with Leverkusen’s attacking triumvirate of Leon Bailey, Kevin Volland and Karim Bellarabi. The trio has managed a staggering 44 shots in their last 2 games against Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg, not to mention Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt (AZ).
This will be the first time that Bayern will face Bellarabi since he saw straight red for a foul on Rafinha — a foul that Uli Hoeness described as “insane” and compared to aggravated assault. The foul was the source of much controversy. The Bayern board initially demanded a lengthy suspension for Bellarabi, who ultimately served a 4-match suspension. Oddly enough, Bellarabi returned from that suspension a new man and has been in outstanding form since.
This will also be the first time Bayern will play Leverkusen under their new gaffer Peter Bosz. The former Borussia Dortmund boss has plenty of familiarity with Bayern, so it will be interesting to see what tricks he has up his sleeve. Bayern have a good team, but we do too,” he said. “It will be an interesting, but also an intense game.”
Glancing at the Bundesliga standings, Bosz acknowledged, “We can help Dortmund, but also the nice people in Leverkusen. We want to help ourselves above all, though.” After weathering a poor start to the season under Heiko Herrlich, Leverkusen remains in 9th place with 27 points, ahead of Mainz by a slim difference of two goals.