Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen – Allianz Arena at 17:30 live on BT Sport Europe
For the first time in 11 months, Bayern Munich are off the top of the Bundesliga table. The Bavarian giants were aiming to become the first German side to lead the top tier for an entire year but despite returning maximum points from their first two league fixtures, FC Hollywood lost their place to a rejuvenated Dortmund side.
BVB have bagged back-to-back 4-0 triumphs to take over leadership on goal difference and Bayern will know they must improve upon last weekend’s uneasy 2-1 success at Hoffenheim. Having taken Hamburg apart 5-0 in their Bundesliga curtain-raiser, Pep Guardiola’s men were forced to scrap for the three points until stoppage-time.
The defending champions conceded the fastest goal in Bundesliga history as Kevin Volland seized upon an uncharacteristic error from David Alaba to give Hoff a lead after just nine seconds on Saturday. But normal service soon resumed – Bayern grabbed a leveller before half-time and Robert Lewandowski poked home the late winner as Pep’s troops monopolised possession.
Now FC Hollywood face their first serious examination of 2015/16 as fellow 100% challengers Bayer Leverkusen make the journey to the Allianz Arena. The hosts will have do make-do without suspended centre-half Jerome Boateng whilst compatriot Mehdi Benatia will require a fitness check. That could potentially leave FC Hollywood short in defensive areas and with Leverkusen often proving a tough nut to crack for the Bavarians, I fancy the visitors chances in making life tough on Saturday.
Die Werkself were far superior to Hoffenheim on the opening day and their 2-1 victory didn’t accurately reflect Roger Schmidt’s side’s dominance. And Bayer were unlucky to leave Lazio with a 1-0 loss in their Champions League first leg qualifier just days later having again boasted the lion’s share of goalscoring opportunities.
Leverkusen’s 1-0 success at Hannover last time out was workmanlike but Schmidt had rung the changes and we should expect a near full strength side on Saturday. The visitors are also a little short in defensive areas but will be comfortable sitting back and playing an aggressive counter-attacking style in the Allianz Arena – an approach that has often paid dividends against high-flying opposition.
Only twice in the past 13 head-to-heads have Bayern Munich managed to beat Leverkusen by a margin of two goals or more and I’d be surprised if the Bavarians enhanced that record this weekend. Die Werkself have suffered just two defeats in 36 league games under Schmidt by two or more goals and should have enough in the tank to stay competitive against the defending champions.
With that in mind, I’ll be getting involved with the 2.00 on offer for Leverkusen +1.5 on the Asian Handicap line. We’ll make profit should the visitors pocket an unlikely win, hold their hosts to a stalemate or lose by just a one-goal margin.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Bayer Leverkusen +1.5 at 2.00
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