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Our man on the scene
DW’s reporter Matt Ford is in Leverkusen for us today. But perhaps got a little over-excited and set off a touch early. Still, at least he can watch all those goals in the early kickoffs. Oh…
Tight early on in the 15:30 kickoffs
At half time in the five early Bundesliga matches, it’s pretty soporific stuff. RB Leipzig, who would go top for now if they won, are being held by Cologne and the only goal so far has come from the penalty spot, Lars Stindl scoring for Borussia Mönchengladbach. Hopefully the goals are being saved for tonight.
Bits from the bosses
Despite being controversially pipped to the FIFA Best men’s coach award on Thursday (Robert Lewandowski did at least bring home the best men’s player award), Hansi Flick was quick to turn his attention to Leverkusen.
“We’re good sports about it. Kloppo and his coaching team deserved the award, just as our team would have done,” he said in his prematch press conference. “Obviously we were a bit disappointed yesterday, but life goes on – we’ve got new targets to reach.
“They [Leverkusen] are a quality team in really, really good form. They’re confident and they’re playing well. They have a style of play – they play possession football and are capable of dictating the game.”
Flick added that he was keen not to rush Joshua Kimmich back from injury while Leon Goretzka is touch and go for the game.
Peter Bosz took time to praise both Leon Bailey and Florian Wirtz and hinted he thought Bayern are a touch more vulnerable than usual after their tough schedule.
“Bayern is and remains a top team,” he said. “At the moment they are one point behind us and are winning their games – even if not as convincingly as last year. But we are on a good run and play good football. The self-confidence is there.
“I don’t care who is the favorite in this game. For me, such a top match doesn’t mean added stress. As an athlete, you want to play big games; that gives you a special energy. Tomorrow will be this kind of game.”
Hello, and welcome!
— After another dismal defeat for Dortmund last night, their title hopes look to be hanging by a thread. That’s not the case for these two and the winner, if there is one, will go in to a truncated winter break top of the pile.
That’s to be expected for Bayern Munich but Peter Bosz’ Leverkusen have been more of a surprise package, particularly given the departure of Kai Havertz. A rejuvenated Leon Bailey, Lucas Alario and impresive young prospect Florian Wirtz have led the way up front while experience pros like Jonathan Tah and Lars Bender keep the back door shut.
Their visitors have looked understandably leggy of late after the shortest of preseasons. But they’ve done enough to stay firmly in the hunt in all three remaining competitions and it’d be a brave person who bet against them retaining the league title.
Let’s hope it’s as fun as the last 1st v 2nd clash, the 3-3 between Bayern and RB Leipzig.