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|Match Result and Total Goals||Odds|
|Bayern Munich and Under 2.5||+550
|Bayern Munich and Over 2.5||-105
|Bayer Leverkusen and Over 2.5||+500
Back Bayern Munich and Over 2.5. (-105)
This will not be a straightforward assignment for the champions, but they are masters at doing whatever it takes to win in the biggest Bundesliga matches.
There is no such thing as a foregone conclusion in soccer, but the result seemed easily predictable when Bayern Munich hosted Eintracht Frankfurt before the international break. Julian Nagelsmann’s side went into the game in irresistible form, having won seven of their first eight matches across the Bundesliga and the Champions League. Eintracht on the other hand were struggling to get going under their new manager Oliver Glasner, and were sitting just above the relegation zone as they awaited their first victory of 2021/22.
Even if you do not know what happened, you can probably guess it. Eintracht stunned Bayern and the rest of the league by winning 2-1 at the Allianz Arena. It was a result that shows that even the champions are not impregnable, and while Bayern remain clear favorites to win the Bundesliga title for the 10th season in a row, they will not have everything their own way in the weeks and months to come.
That can only be a good thing. There is barely a country in Europe where a select group of sides does not dominate year in, year out. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are clear of the competition in La Liga. The Premier League has a big six, of which Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. In Serie A Juventus, Inter and AC Milan have won 74 championships between them.
The problem for German soccer is that Bayern stand out in front alone.
No other club has won the Bundesliga since Borussia Dortmund in 2012. Even if we do not get another non-Bayern champion this term, the hope is that Nagelsmann’s men are made to work for their gong. More upsets like the defeat by Eintracht would be welcome by all those who do not support Bayern.
A second consecutive loss for Bayern would not be as much of a shock as the Eintracht reverse was. That is because their opponents this weekend are level on points with the table-toppers. Like Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen have won five and drawn one of their seven fixtures to date. Both teams have conceded seven goals, but Bayern occupy first place having outscored Leverkusen 24-20.
Nagelsmann took his team to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona last month, but Sunday’s visit to the BayArena represents Bayern’s toughest test so far.
Leverkusen have been sensational in the opening couple of months of the campaign. Gerardo Seoane has needed little time to make an impact after taking the reins in the summer. His team are playing high-tempo, attack-minded soccer and have continually seen their proactive approach rewarded.
Leverkusen were edged out by Borussia Dortmund in a seven-goal thriller and held to a draw by Union Berlin on the opening weekend. Other than that they have been perfect. Seoane has overseen three 4-0 wins (Celtic, Borussia Monchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld were the victims) and a 4-1 thrashing of Augsburg. They have a 100 percent record in the Europa League, where the demolition of Celtic was preceded by a narrower triumph over Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros.
The performances have been just as impressive as the results, which is why some fans are starting to believe Leverkusen could genuinely challenge Bayern for the title.
There is a long way to go before we can start talking in those terms, but a victory over the champions this weekend would bring many more Bundesliga watchers round to their cause.
It will be interesting to see how Leverkusen approach this game. They are the home team and will be roared on by the BayArena crowd on Sunday, but they also have the tools to thrive with a transition-based strategy. We can probably expect Seoane’s side to start quickly and press Bayern high up the pitch, before taking a step back after the first 15 or 20 minutes to conserve energy.
That opening period could determine how the rest of the match plays out. If Leverkusen can get their noses in front, Bayern would be forced to come forward and there would then be more space for the home side to counter into. Florian Wirtz, Moussa Diaby, and Patrik Schick, the terrific attacking trio, would welcome such a situation.
A failure to score early on would certainly not ruin Leverkusen’s chances of victory, but Bayern will try to weather the early storm before gradually taking control. And for all that Seoane’s side have been thrilling up to now, they do not have the same level of experience as this Bayern team. The champions have been there and done it, and the likes of Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich know exactly how to handle big matches like this.
Bayern will also view Sunday’s game as a chance to remind everyone that they are still the team to beat in Germany’s top tier.
This could be a fantastic match to watch and Leverkusen’s firepower means they should be able to find the net, but back Bayern to get the job done – as they so often do.
|Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich Information|
|Teams||Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany|
|Time||Sunday, 17 October 2021, 9.30 AM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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