Three months after lifting the Bundesliga title for the fifth consecutive time, German Champions, Bayern Munich begin their pursuit of a sixth successive title with the visit of Bayer Leverkusen, as the 55th Bundesliga season gets underway later today.
The Bavarians, who have never lost when officially opening the new Bundesliga season, will host Bayer at the magnificent Allianz Arena in Munich, hoping to kick off the season on a high.
The host are missing some very key players with defender, Jerome Boateng top of that list. Also out for the champions are fellow defenders, Javi Martinez and full back, Juan Bernat, who are both long term absentees.
Talented midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, will also be missing for the Bavarians, with new signing, James Rodriguez’s debut put on hold, as the Colombian playmaker is also injured.
Goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer will be missing as well, as he has not fully recovered from the fractured foot Injury he picked up towards the end of last season, with manager, Carlo Ancelotti preferring to not take any risks by rushing the German international back to action.
For the visitors, Tin Jedvaj, who suffered a hairline fracture in preseason is a major doubt, as is Lars Bender, who is still nursing an ankle injury. Kan Havertz is also out with a knee problem for the Werkself.
However, new signings, Sven Bender, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund, and, Dominik Kohr, on loan from Augsburg, are expected to make their debuts for Bayer.
Bayern go into this one having had quite an unexpectedly bad preseason, where they lost to teams like Napoli, Inter Milan, AC Milan and English side, Liverpool.
They have, however, won their last two competitive matches, first was the German Super Cup defeat of main rivals, Dortmund, followed by the 5-o thumping of third tier team, Chemnitz.
Bayer, on their part, are under a new management, after former manager Roger Schmidt, was replaced by Heiko Herrlich.
They’ve also lost a number of key players, including some of their best attacking players, with the likes of Chicharito, Omar Toprak and Hakan Calhanoglu, who have all departed the club.
It’s not an easy ground for the Werkself, who lost the last time they were here, 2-1, enroute finishing 12th last season.
Bayern’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti: “We’re looking forward to starting off against Leverkusen. The first match is always tough but I think we’re ready for the match, and I hope we’ll turn in a good display,
Heiko Herrlich, Bayer’s manager: What’s important is that we come out against FC Bayern with lots of courage, believe in our strengths and use them well. My team is in really good shape physically and I also feel good about their morale.”
Predicted Starting XI:
Bayern XI [4-2-3-1]: Ulreich; Kimmich; Sule; Hummels; Alaba; Tolisso; Rudy; Robben; Muller; Ribery; Lewandowski
Bayer XI [4-4-2]: Leno; Henrichs; Tah; Bender; Wendell; Kohr; Aranguiz, Bellarabi; Kampl; Mehmedi; Volland
- The defending champions have never lost when officially opening the new season (W12, D3).
- A Bayern player has scored the opening goal of a Bundesliga season 12 times – including the last four.
- Bayer Leverkusen have lost seven of their 16 Bundesliga meetings with Bayern since the start of 2009/10 (W3, D6).
- Robert Lewandowski only has two goals in 12 Bundesliga matches against Leverkusen, and none for Bayern.
- Bayern and Leverkusen meet for the fifth time on an opening weekend (3 FCB wins and a draw).
- New Bayer boss Heiko Herrlich was coaching in the fourth tier 20 months ago.
Bayern have started the season on a good note and I don’t see this Bayer side, especially under a new management, derailing their very good start to the season.
So, it’d take something special for Bayer to escape with any positive result today.
Bayern Munich 2 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen