Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:401381: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, including team news and predicted lineups.

Arguably the pick of this weekend's Bundesliga action will take place at the BayArena on Saturday afternoon as top-four hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen welcome league leaders Bayern Munich.

Leverkusen are currently fifth in the table, level on points with fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, while champions Bayern are seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the summit.

Match preview

Leverkusen have won three of their four matches since the Bundesliga resumed in the middle of May, including an important 1-0 victory away to Freiburg in their last fixture on May 29.

Peter Bosz's side put seven goals past Werder Bremen and Borussia Monchengladbach in successive matches last month, but they were brought crashing back down to earth at home to Wolfsburg on May 26, suffering a 4-1 reverse as their seven-game unbeaten run ended in surprise fashion.

Leverkusen, as mentioned, are level on points with the side directly above them, while they sit just two points off third-placed RB Leipzig and four behind second-placed Dortmund.

It is incredibly difficult to imagine a scenario where Die Werkself challenge for the title, but a victory over Bayern this weekend would give them real hope in the fight for second position.

There will once again be eyes on Kai Havertz this weekend, with the 20-year-old scoring six times in his last four Bundesliga appearances, and it has been suggested that Bayern could hold talks with Leverkusen ahead of the match over a potential summer deal.

Bayern's form since the restart has been perfect, picking up four wins from four matches, including a key 1-0 victory over Dortmund on May 26 to open up a healthy lead at the summit.

Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and Fortuna Dusseldorf have also been beaten by the champions since the middle of May, and another victory on Saturday would see them take a huge step towards retaining the title.

Hansi Flick's side have actually now won their last eight Bundesliga matches, while they are unbeaten in Germany's top flight since the start of December, which is an indication of the size of the task facing Leverkusen at the BayArena in the latest round of fixtures.

The German champions are comfortable at the summit, although they will face a tough game against Borussia Monchengladbach next weekend, and a poor result this weekend might well give Dortmund & Co. confidence.

Leverkusen actually ran out 2-1 winners when the two sides locked horns at the Allianz Arena earlier this season, while they also recorded a 3-1 victory over Bayern in the corresponding game last term.

Leverkusen Bundesliga form: DWWWLW
Leverkusen form (all competitions): WWWWLW

Bayern Bundesliga form: WWWWWW
Bayern form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Team News

Havertz was forced off during Leverkusen's clash with Freiburg last time out, but the Germany international has been declared fit for Saturday's contest in what is a huge boost for the home side.

The youngster is again expected to lead the line despite Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario returning to fitness, and Leverkusen's squad is in good shape at the moment with Lars Bender their only confirmed absentee.

Bosz has plenty of decisions to make with Moussa Diaby, Kerem Demirbay and Karim Bellarabi all named on the bench against Freiburg, meaning that there were starts for the likes of Leon Bailey and Nadiem Amiri.

Diaby, Demirbag and Bellarabi are all pushing to return to the XI against Bayern, though, while there should be a spot in defence for Edmond Tapsoba, who was also left out of the starting team for the Freiburg fixture.

As for Bayern, on-loan Barcelona attacker Phillipe Coutinho is still on the sidelines through injury, while the match will also come too soon for Niklas Sule and Corentin Tolisso.

Thiago has returned to fitness, though, and the Spaniard could replace Leon Goretzka in the middle of the park, while Jerome Boateng should also return to the starting XI.

There are not expected to be any surprises elsewhere, though, with Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski again featuring in the attacking positions.

Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Weiser, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Aranguiz, Demirbay; Bellarabi, Amiri, Diaby; Havertz

Bayern possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Thiago; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowski

We say: Leverkusen 1-2 Bayern

Leverkusen have won two and lost just one of their last six home matches against Bayern, who have also lost the last two fixtures between the two sides. There is no question that Bosz's side are capable of picking up a victory, but we just fancy the champions to have enough to pick up another vital three points.

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Bundesliga Table
CBayern MunichBayern342644100326882
2Borussia DortmundDortmund34216784414369
3RB Leipzig341812481374466
4Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach34205966402665
5Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen35197962451764
9Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt34136155960-145
10Hertha Berlin34118154859-1141
11Union BerlinUnion Berlin34125174158-1741
12Schalke 04Schalke35913133959-2040
14Mainz 0535114204466-2237
15FC Koln34106185169-1836
16Werder Bremen3487194269-2731
RFortuna DusseldorfDusseldorf34612163667-3130
RSC PaderbornSC Paderborn3448223774-3720
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