Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen will be switching their focus away from the Bundesliga this week ahead of their meeting in the semi final of the DFB-Pokal.
The Bavarians will be travelling to the BayArena as league champions and Jupp Heynckes will be desperate to end his third spell in charge of the club with at least a domestic double this season.
Leverkusen have been one of Germany’s most exciting teams this season and Heiko Herrlich’s side currently sit third in the Bundesliga table. With young stars like Leon Bailey, Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz at their disposal, Die Werkself will prove to be tough opponents for Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash in midweek.
Bayern Munich are unbeaten in their last six meeting with Bayer Leverkusen, a record that has lasted almost three years to the day. But back when Pep Guardiola was in charge of the Bavarian giants his side fell to a 2-0 defeat at the BayArena.
Both sides cancelled each other out during the first half, but makeshift striker Hakan Çalhano?lu had the hosts in front with a trademark free kick just 10 minutes after the restart.
Karim Bellarabi then went on an outstanding solo run before releasing an unmarked Julian Brandt on the right wing. The youngster drifted into the box before firing a powerful effort past Manuel Neuer at his near post to secure all three points – a result Bayern will be hoping to avoid on Tuesday.
Kevin Volland vs Mats Hummels
Bayern Munich will understandably be favourites to secure a place in the DFB-Pokal final when they travel to the BayArena on Tuesday, but Leverkusen’s attack is teaming with talent and Heiko Herrlich’s side can’t be underestimated in midweek.
Striker Kevin Volland is a name rarely heard when discussions over Joachim Löw’s World Cup squad come up, but the 25-year-old is currently the top scoring German in the Bundesliga – three ahead of Die Mannschaft’s star man Timo Werner.
The former TSG Hoffenheim star scored a 17-minute hat-trick against high flying Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and Volland will be eager to impress once more against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
But Volland will be coming up against the Bavarians’ anchor man Mats Hummels. The 29-year-old is widely considered to be one of the best defenders in Europe and he is a key fixture in Jupp Heynckes’ senior squad.
Bayern Munich will be without long-term absentees Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman on Tuesday, while a recent injury to Arturo Vidal will also keep the Chilean on the sidelines in the DFB-Pokal.
Fringe striker Joel Pohjanpalo will be out of Bayer Leverkusen’s squad this week with an ankle injury, with Sven Bender and Wendell also missing from Die Werkself’s attack.
Potential Bayer Leverkusen Starting Lineup: Leno, Bender, Tah, Retsos, Henrichs, Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Bailey, Havertz, Brandt, Volland.
Potential Bayern Munich Starting Lineup: Ulreich, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba, Martínez, Müller, James, Robben, Ribéry, Lewandowski.
Although Bayer Leverkusen will offer Bayern Munich a lot of threat going forward, and based on the Bavarian’s defensive record the hosts should get on the scoresheet, Jupp Heynckes’ side will most likely book their place in next month’s final.
Bayern will be returning to full strength on Tuesday and they will be motivated to secure a domestic double this season. Attention can then switch to their Champions League semi final against Real Madrid later this month.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich