Bayern faces another interesting test on Saturday at 12:30 (18:30) in Germany when they host Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena for the traditional Oktoberfest game.
ESPN3 has this game in the USA, while Canadian channels fail to deliver. I think we should campaign for Sky Deutschland to be offered :-)
On the Leverkusen side
This team needs to find its soul. Last season, they were high-scoring but their defensive struggles prevented them from having any shot at the title. This time around, they have three clean sheets in six games, but then they lack the finishing touch.
Typically, Leverkusen’s midfield controls the ball and spends plenty of time forward. They only let Dortmund and Chelsea have more possession since action resumed in all competitions.
Despite this factor, they only have seven goals in six games.
Stefan Kießling has only two goals on nine shots. Strikers of his talent usually do better.
This team had a good start, but you should have seen their last game against FC Köln. They got spanked badly by Lukas Podolski and Milivoje Novakovic, especially on breaks and counterattacks. The defense was bamboozled by their movement and passes.
On the other hand, they have a robust squad with a well-established 4-2-3-1. You can’t laugh at a team that combines Kießling, Simon Rolfes, Lars Bender, Renato Augusto and Michael Ballack.
Leverkusen’s central defense is respectable. Aside from the Köln game, Reinartz and Toprak are generally reliable, especially in one-on-one situations. They contributed to the clean sheets.
Scoring threat (and summer acquisition) Andre Schürrle will miss this match, having received a red card during the last Bundesliga game. René Adler is still far from the action.
On the Bayern side
The sun is shining powerfully over München these days. Results have been delivered so far and the Heynckes rule is unchallenged. Okbtoberfest beer is flowing, which I believe is a factor :-)
Mario Gomez reintegrates the starting 11, while Robben is likely to be a late decision. Don’t be too surprised if Müller keeps replacing him on the right wing.
Rotation? It would make sense since Manchester City is next, Tuesday, in the Champions League. We might see some Tymoshchuk, unless Heynckes decides to keep him fresh for the big clash with the sky-blue team. That would be my choice.
Same thing with the back four. Who sits on the bench may be rested for the Champions League.
It would be simplistic to predict a big win. Leverkusen is an experienced side that gave Dortmund a run for its money. Expect a tough game.