Bayern Munich-Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Schmidt's men confident of upset

The reigning champions remain unbeaten in the Bundesliga after 13 games and the visitors are looking to narrow the 10-point gap between the two sides

Bayer Leverkusen are confident they can do something no side has done since April – beat Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Roger Schmidt’s side travel to the Allianz Arena for a much-anticipated clash on Saturday, as the third-placed Leverkusen try to upset the all-conquering German champions.

Borussia Dortmund – who amazingly sit bottom of the table this season – were the last team to topple Bayern in the league, winning 3-0 in Munich almost eight months ago.

But Leverkusen, fresh off a morale-boosting 5-1 derby win over Koln on Saturday, believe they can win – and defender Roberto Hilbert said his team-mates are not going to Bavaria for a holiday.

“I’m not going to Munich to have a look around the city,” Hilbert told Bayer04TV.

“We are going to there to win. And we need to get a result in this game, as against Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday.

“Without wanting to be too confident, I believe we can go there with our heads held high and put on a performance.

“I think we can be really happy with the display against Koln on Saturday. It wasn’t just a derby victory, but also the second win on the bounce in the Bundesliga.

“As I said, we can play our game and I’m sure we have got the quality to win the match.”

Leverkusen trailed against Koln but scored four times in the second half – Karim Bellarabi and substitute Josip Drmic netting doubles.

It was a good response for a Leverkusen side, who despite dominating the match, lost 1-0 at home to Monaco in the Champions League in the build-up to the derby.

That defeat means Leverkusen – already qualified for the competition’s last 16 – still have top place in the pool up for grabs.

Bayern also lost in their last Champions League match, conceding twice in the final five minutes to lose 3-2 at Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side bounced back with a 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday, which came thanks to Arjen Robben’s stunning first-half strike.

Undefeated Bayern have won 10 of their 13 Bundesliga matches this season, and remain seven points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg – and 10 ahead of Leverkusen.

Bayern have conceded just three league goals, scoring 32 in the process, with Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Robben all having scored at least six Bundesliga strikes.

Their many threats make Bayern a hard team to stop, but Leverkusen possess a rare good record against Bayern in recent years.

Of the last five meetings, both sides have won two – while they shared the spoils at the BayArena in October last year.

Bayern won 2-1 in Munich in March this year – the last meeting between the two.

Guardiola has no new injury worries, with the likes of captain Philipp Lahm (ankle), David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez (all knee) all sidelined.

Tin Jedvaj deputised at centre-back for Leverkusen on Saturday in the absence of injured Omer Toprak (knee) and he appears set to continue in the role.

Matthaus: I'm concerned Ronaldo goals will win Ballon d'Or

The former World Cup-winning captain believes Lionel Messi had a disappointing year by his own standards and has hailed Manuel Neuer as a goalkeeping pioneer


Former Bayern Munich and Germany star Lotthar Matthaus is worried that Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal record will “outshine everything” when it comes to the race for the 2014 Ballon d’Or.

Ronaldo, who won the prize for the second time in January of this year, set a new record for goals in the Champions League as he helped fire Real Madrid to European and Copa del Rey glory last season.

The 29-year-old has already scored a staggering 28 goals so far in 2014-15 as Madrid have set a new club record of consecutive victories to move top of La Liga and ensure their place in the Champions League knockouts.

And Matthaus, who won the award in 1990, believes the Portugal star has done enough to win ahead of Lionel Messi, who he feels has not been at his best in the past year despite recently breaking both the Liga and Champions League goalscoring records.

“My personal concern is that Ronaldo will win the award. His goal ratio is unique, he sets new records,” he told reporters at an event hosted by Sky.

“Normally the World Cup should outshine everything, but in the end Ronaldo’s goals will outshine everything. To me he is the favourite, because he fascinates us every week.

“Messi is only the underdog because he was injured too often and was not in his best shape at the World Cup. For me he was not so strong during the tournament. Fifa’s experts voted him player of the tournament, but that was a gift. I think he shook his head himself when he got the trophy up there after the final.”

Manuel Neuer is the final nominee for the 2014 prize after his triumphs with Germany and Bayern Munich this year and Matthaus has hailed the former Schalke man as the pioneering goalkeeper of his generation.

“It is a great feeling [to be nominated],” continued the 1990 World Cup-winning captain. “Manuel invented a new keeper style. He is the 11th player on the field, sort of a sweeper. And at the World Cup he had the perfect stage to show it.

“For South American teams his style was something new. They did not know him, since the German Bundesliga is not so popular there. Now Neuer is known outside of Europe, too. He was a major factor in Germany winning the World Cup.”

Bundesliga approves goal-line technology

A majority of 15 clubs in the German top flight voted in favour of the use of hawk-eye from the start of the 2015-16 season


The Bundesliga has approved the use of goal-line technology, starting in the 2015-16 season.

The issue of technology has become all the more prevalent in Germany over the couse of the last year, following Stefan Kiessling’s controversial “phantom goal” in the win over Hoffenheim (below) and the DFB-Pokal final in May when Mats Hummels’ header appeared to cross the line before Bayern Munich went on to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0.

However, at a meeting of clubs in Frankfurt, 15 of the division’s 18 clubs have voted in favour of using the hawk-eye system in top-flight matches from the start of next season.

Bayern spearheaded the initiative in the wake of the Pokal final, with club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stressing its importance for the credibility of football.

“In the future we must protect football and the referees in particular,” he said in May.

“The way match officials, who do not have access to replays and slow motion footage, let alone mathematical calculations, are subjected to public abuse is unacceptable. This can and should be prevented in the future.”

The 2. Bundesliga rejected the introduction of GLT back in March.

The system was first introduced in the 2012 Fifa Club World Cup, with the Premier League adopting in for the start of the 2013-14 season.

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Robben warns Guardiola: Don't start rotating me

The Dutch winger says he benefits from a rhythm which comes from regular playing time and praised his coach for being the best tactical-minded boss in modern football


Arjen Robben has warned Pep Guardiola not to start rotating him as he believes his best form for Bayern Munich comes with consistent game-time.

The Dutch winger, 30, has been in arguably the form of his life during the past 18 months, having scored the winner in the 2012-13 Champions League final before leading Bayern to four trophies last season and Netherlands to third place at the World Cup.

However, competition for places in the Bayern set-up is strong with Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Xherdan Shaqiri all capable of playing out wide for Guardiola.

The former Barcelona boss felt his players were suffering from fatigue in their narrow win over Hertha Berlin but Robben is adamant that he does not need to be rested from first-team duties.

“Rotation is be for me,” he told Kicker. “I need this constant rhythm, I grow stronger and my flow comes from playing all of the time.

“I just need a break in between games, however, as that helps the mind and body recover.”

Guardiola’s side have soared clear in the Bundesliga title race this season after claiming the prize in record time in 2013-14, and Robben is eager to stay with the club as long as possible in order to work with the man he believes to be football’s best tactician.

“Guardiola, for me, is tactically the best in the world,” Robben added. “He is a perfectionist.

“The advantage this season is that we no longer have to get used to each other us. This season we have improved in possession and we have more peace of mind.

“Guardiola works very hard, he prepares us superbly. Guardiola understands where spaces in the field open up. That’s what he had as a player, too.

“My contract is valid until 2017 and as long as he’s here I want to work with him.”

Bayern face third-placed Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday as they look to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

Guardiola should've been Argentina boss, says Menotti

The former Barca and Argentina boss declared the Spaniard as the best coach of the past 30 years, while claiming Lionel Messi is not the best player ever


Pep Guardiola should have replaced Alejandro Sabella as Argentina head coach this summer, according to World Cup-winner Cesar Luis Menotti.

The Albiceleste came close to lifting the World Cup for a third time in Brazil a few months ago only to be thwarted by Germany and an extra-time goal from Mario Gotze in the final.

Menotti, the man who was in charge in 1978 when Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time, believes Gerardo Martino was the wrong choice to succeed Sabella, claiming Guardiola was the ideal candidate.

“Guardiola should have been chosen as the coach of the Argentina team when Sabella left,” Menotti told El Grafico.

“And I would have put three young coaches behind him, learning from him, as thinking ahead for the future.

The Argentine lavished further praise on Guardiola by adding his belief that the Bayern Munich coach is the game’s best manager of the past 30 years.

“I do not know if Barcelona under Guardiola was the best team ever, because you have to compare it with Ajax in the 1970s, but it was the best team of the past 30 years, sure. And Guardiola is the best coach in the past 30 years.”

Menotti was also glowing in his assessment of Lionel Messi, Guardiola’s star pupil while in charge at Camp Nou.

“If Messi was not the best player in the World Cup, Argentina would have not got out of the group stage,” he added.

“I don’t think he was as unbalancing to the team as some want us to believe. The problem was that Messi was without attackers as good as him.

“Messi is amazing, but at the head of the table of greatness is Pele – he was the best. He was out of this world.”

Messi is hoping to win his fifth Ballon d’Or after being named alongside Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer on Monday as one of the final three competitors for the prize.