Friday Nov 25, 2016. 10:17
If it is true that a lion is most dangerous when wounded, then football fans in the Allianz Arena on Saturday can look forward to a gripping match between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
The two giants of German football go into their late kick-off game Saturday on the back of disappointing league defeats last weekend – Bayern losing their first match of the season 1-0 at Borussia Dortmund, while Leverkusen gave away a 2-1 lead at home against RB Leipzig and lost 3-2.
Bayern's defeat sees the club from Bavaria no longer at the top of the standings for the first time since September last year.
Despite the loss Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti said he still saw plenty of positives. “I was happy with the way the team played. Of course I was not happy with the result,” the Italian said.
For his Leverkusen counterpart, Roger Schmidt, the defeat was a difficult to swallow as his side missed a penalty that would have taken them to a 3-1 lead. It was just the latest in a string of spot kicks they failed to convert.
“I think the players who’ve taken them, Chicharito, Charles Aranguiz and Hakan Calhanoglu, are all experienced players with outstanding shots, actually the best shots in the team who are used to such emotional moments in games and, despite that, they’ve missed. We can’t change it. I just think the chances of us scoring the next one must be increasing.”
There was some good news for Schmidt's side as they joined Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the knock-out stage of the Champions League on Tuesday after drawing at CSKA Moscow. “We haven’t managed to achieve the necessary consistency in the Bundesliga but we have in the Champions League where we’ve had really good games up to now,” Schmidt said.
The last time they met it ended 0-0 at the BayArena back in February, a match which saw Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso sent off in the second half.
One factor that is crucial to Bayern’s chances of victory is the form of superstar striker Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international was out of sorts in Der Klassiker last weekend, and he is five goals behind Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Cologne’s Anthony Modeste in the goal charts.
Having gone two Bundesliga games without a goal, he’ll be eager to kick start his form again.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, are currently ninth in the Bundesliga, after five wins, five defeats and one draw, and will be hoping to improve.
Their main goal threat is Mexican striker Chicharito, who has scored five goals this season. Despite this he has failed to find the back of the net in five league matches since he scored against Borussia Dortmund at the start of October.
In total, the 28-year-old has scored 22 goals since his move from Manchester United in 2015.
Another player to look out for is talented youngster Julian Brandt, who is considered as one of the most exciting prospects in German football.
Myke Mwai Mugo, who is the Sports Channels Director of StarTimes, the company that holds the African Bundesliga rights, said that they were pleased that the Bayern match would be shown live on the World Football Channel.
“I think Der Klassiker showed quite clearly that it is always more than worthwhile to tune in to watch Bundesliga football. Bayern is a household name throughout Africa and have many supporters world-wide. It could quite-well be a high scoring game.
The game, which will be shown live on the World Football Channel (channel number: 254 on DTT platform and 245 on DTH platform) of StarTimes at 17:30GMT on Saturday, is one of nine Bundesliga matches that StarTimes subscribers will be able to see this weekend.
If Bayern and Leverkusen are looking towards the top, there is a mouthwatering clash at the wrong end of the table as Werder Bremen travel to SV Hamburg for a north Germany derby.
Hamburg are stone last without a win from their 11 matches, while Bremen are just two places and four points ahead. Their current positions are a far cry from the glorious past that the two clubs had.
In the 2008/9 season, they met each other in the semi-finals of both the German Cup and the UEFA Cup, with Werder winning on both occasions.
Table-topping RB Leipzig, who have a three point lead over Bayern, kick-off match day 12 on Friday with a trip to Freiburg, while on Saturday Borussia Moenchengladbach are at home to Hoffenheim, Cologne take on Augsburg, struggling Wolfsburg are away to Ingolstadt and Dortmund travel to Frankfurt.
The two matches on Sunday see Schalke at home to Darmstadt, while Mainz travel to Hertha Berlin.