November 19, 2017

Bayern vs. Leverkusen Preview: Champions Fancied for Winning Start

Bayern Munich begins defense of their Bundesliga title Friday when they host Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena.

The reigning champions are heavy betting favourites to secure their sixth league championship in a row and are odds-on to make a winning start against Leverkusen. The bet365 app has Bayern priced at around 2/9 to extend their unbeaten run against Leverkusen to five games.

Bayern have strengthened their squad this summer by signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid and Corentin Tolisso from Lyon, but they will be without Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm who have both retired.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti faces a few selection headaches for the game with Rodriguez, Jerome Boateng, and Juan Bernat all ruled out. Captain Manuel Neuer is recovering from a foot injury, while Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez are unlikely to play.

Bayern still boast plenty of firepower, with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Arjen Robben all fancied to score the first goal. Lewandowski bagged 43 goals in all competitions for the club last season and is just 2/1 to open the scoring against Leverkusen.

Bayern won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last term and can be backed at 8/1 for a repeat performance on Friday.

New Leverkusen boss Heiko Herrlich will be keen to improve on last season’s disappointing 12th place finish.

Herrlich’s side needed extra-time to see off Karlsruhe in the first round of the DFB Pokal last week, and the 5/1 on offer to beat Bayern looks rather short when you consider that performance. Striker Stefan Kiebling and centre-back Tin Jedvaj are set to miss the game, but brothers Sven and Lars Bender should both be available for selection.

Bayern have historically dominated games against Leverkusen on their home patch, winning 30 and drawing six of their 39 previous meetings. They also won 19 of their 25 Bundesliga matches at home since the start of 2016 (W19 D5 L1), with 16 of those victories by two goals or more.

Odds of around 33/1 for Leverkusen to repeat their 2012/13 heroics and record a 2-1 success are a measure of the task they face on Friday.

Bayern have been hugely impressive in their opening matches over the past two campaigns, beating Werder Bremen 6-0 last season and 5-0 the year before.

The total goals market lists over 4.5 goals during the game at 11/4, and that could certainly pay dividends.

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