Can Florian Wirtz and Bayer Leverkusen keep Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski quiet on Matchday 25? - © imago
Can Florian Wirtz and Bayer Leverkusen keep Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski quiet on Matchday 25? - © imago
bundesliga

Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen all set for Bundesliga blockbuster

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It's going to be captivating: Bayern Munich versus Bayer Leverkusen in a fixture that sees first place host third in the standings with skills, excitement and suspense a certainty, and goals almost guaranteed.

They are two of the Bundesliga's leadings lights, giants of the German top tier who have been tormenting defences this season to the tune of 138 combined goals. The anticipation building, the Allianz Arena knows what to expect from a Matchday 25 fixture that features the shots-on-target kings, with Bayern and Leverkusen also leading the way in that crucial stat with over 350 efforts on goal between them.

Saturday's hosts may have pulled into the distance as far as Gerardo Seoane's side are concerned - with the Bavarians 14 points better off than B04 going into this game - but both will be charged up to the full as they look to take the three crucial points on offer.

For leaders Bayern, maximum returns would represent the chance to increase their advantage at the top as Julian Naglesmann's side seek to become the first team to make it a 10th top-flight title in a row. For Bayer, it's all about staying the pace in the chase for that crucial top-four spot, and with a host of teams breathing down their necks, what a boon a first win in Munich since November 2019 would be for Die Werkself.

Such an outcome would also help the league's second-youngest team gain revenge over a Bayern side that ran riot the last time these two met at the BayArena in October. Ahead of that encounter, Seoane's men were neck and neck with the record champions at the head of the table, seven games into the season. The Bavarians left their opponents flabbergasted that autumn afternoon, however, going 5-0 up inside the first 37 minutes with Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry scoring doubles either side of Thomas Müller's third goal of the campaign. Leverkusen pulled a goal back, but the 5-1 final scoreline hurt, and would leave them without a win in their next four games in all competitions.

"I'm assuming that that won't happen to us again," defender Jonathan Tah told Kicker in the lead up to Saturday's game. "We were at a bad level that day [while] Bayern we're unbelievable," the 26-year-old said. "I'm more looking forward to this game [as] we can show that we've developed as a team." On whether or not he felt he and his teammates could take something at the Allianz Arena, Tah said, "We have to play more maturely. Of course it's always more difficult against a top team, but I think we're capable of it."

Watch: Bayern ran away with it in Leverkusen earlier this season

"We got a little lesson from Bayern that day," Seoane admitted of the 5-1 reverse. But it has gone on to be a case of lesson learned as far as 2022 is concerned, with Die Werkself ahead of the reigning champions (16 points to 15) in the Rückrunde table and outscoring Bayern by 23 goals to 19 since the turn of the year. "We'll try to take the right measures for the task on Saturday," Seoane continued, before adding, "It's clear that it will require a good attitude [and] a good performance."

With Bayern extending their record of having scored in 71 consecutive Bundesliga games in last weekend's narrow win against Eintracht Frankfurt and the Bavarians also having won the last four meetings against Saturday's opponents, Leverkusen certainly will need to be at their best, especially when you consider that they have conceded at least a goal in their last 31 league visits to Munich. "We've often thought throughout the season we've had a bit of a cushion at the top [of the table], but if you stumble in one or two games, it tightens up again," warned Bayern's Joshua Kimmich. "We have to work hard [as] our ambition must be to keep this lead up right to the end of the season," the Germany international continued.

Watch: Bayern vs. Leverkusen - All-Star Analysis

"The next five games in the Bundesliga are very important," coach Nagelsmann said after witnessing his team eventually emerge victorious following a tough encounter in Frankfurt. "Overall, if you look at the last few games, I think this one was a step in the right direction; I'm satisfied." Although gradually working their way back from early February's shock 4-2 loss against Bochum and subsequent draw away to Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League, Bayern have nonetheless still been adding to their impressive stats this season. The Bavarians have more goals now (75) than ever before at this stage of a season, while in Lewandowski and Müller they have the highest scorer and assist provider in the Bundesliga.

Indeed, Müller's predicted return to action at the weekend would set up an intriguing prospect of the Raumdeuter going head to head with the division's second-best goal provider, Florian Wirtz, who with 10 assists, is six behind his senior rival. The likelihood of 20-goal Patrik Schick missing out through injury is somewhat alleviated for Bayer by the fact that the in-form Moussa Diaby will be on hand to battle it out with the league's leading marksman, Lewandowski. Indeed, French forward Diaby (seven) is only two goals behind the prolific Pole (nine) in goals scored in the Rückrunde.

"Bayern are certainly a little stronger, but they are not as confident as usual at the moment," coaching legend Ottmar Hitzfeld told Bild as part of the German publication's big-match build-up. "It might be the time for a surprise because Leverkusen are always good at that," the former Bayern tactician continued.

Yet whatever way this mouthwatering prospect of a game goes, immense entertainment is a given, so make sure to follow all of the action from 3:30pm CET on Saturday on bundesliga.com and across our social media platforms.