Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen; Harry Kane vs. Granit Xhaka - Friday's clash isn't one to miss. - © DFL
Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen; Harry Kane vs. Granit Xhaka - Friday's clash isn't one to miss. - © DFL

From Harry Kane to Granit Xhaka, how do Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen stack up?


First take on second at this early stage of the season when Bayern Leverkusen travel to Bayern Munich in the first Friday back after the international break. Will Harry Kane or Granit Xhaka come out on top?

Former stars of the North London derby, Tottenham Hotspur's record goalscorer Kane scored 14 goals in 19 career meetings with Arsenal, but former Gunners captain Xhaka led his side to six victories in his time with their great rivals.

Now cornerstones for Bayern and Leverkusen respectively, Kane will be looking to outscore Victor Boniface at the Allianz Arena, while Xhaka's primary concern will be trying to get the better of Joshua Kimmich in midfield.

"To be back [in the Bundesliga] myself, and with Harry Kane as well, is something the Bundesliga can be proud about," Xhaka told after Leverkusen's 3-2 win over RB Leipzig on Matchday 1. "We'll try to give our best to make the Bundesliga as exciting as possible."

With the players now representing the top two cubs in the table, they have lived up to Xhaka's billing so far. How will the game be won and lost, and what part will they play?

The goalscorers: Kane vs. Boniface

Watch: Kane vs. Boniface: Ready, set, score!

As well as scoring 280 goals for Spurs, Kane has plundered a record number for England - 58 from 84 caps. In short, he was signed to find the back of the net, and that's something he has managed with ruthless efficiency so far, with three from three in the Bundesliga. Adding his assist for Leroy Sane as Bayern opened their account for the season with a 4-0 win at Werder Bremen, he has had a hand in a goal every 66 minutes.

If Kane has hit the ground running, Boniface has broken the land speed record since arriving at Leverkusen from Belgian side Union SG. The Nigerian has plundered four goals and two assists at a rate of one every 44.5 minutes. He has the highest xG, and realised goals, league-wide.

It's certainly a close battle based on their season starts, but Kane remains King for now, with Boniface the potential usurper.

The supply chain: Alphonso Davies vs. Jeremie Frimpong

Jeremie Frimpong (l.) and Alphonso Davies (r.) on the same flank - blink and you'll miss it. - AFP via Getty Images

Two of Kane's three Bundesliga goals so far have been assisted by Bayern left-back Alphonso Davies. The marauding Canadian teed Kane up for his first Bayern goal, against Bremen, and also in the 3-1 win over Augsburg on Matchday 2. Mathys Tel had also been on the receiving end of a slide-rule pass from the left against Werder.

But if Davies is an attacking full-back, Jeremie Frimpong seems to think he is a bona fide winger. Leverkusen's nominal right-back has also laid on three goals this season - for Florian Wirtz in the Leipzig game, then Boniface and Exequiel Palacios as Die Werkself routed Darmstadt 5-1 - but he had also opened the scoring against the Saxony upstarts on Matchday 1.

The fact Davies and Frimpong will come directly up against each other on the same flank at the Allianz Arena adds a welcome layer of intrigue.

Midfield minefield: Xhaka vs. Kimmich

Lukas Hradecky may wear the captain's armband at Leverkusen, but Xhaka is already an on-field leader, while five fouls but just a single yellow card so far are testament to his mastery of the dark arts. "To have a player like Granit and his experience is really good for us," Boniface told recently. "You can see that in every game he plays. He has a big influence on the team."

He'll need that and more against his opposite number, Kimmich - who will lead Bayern out in the continued absence of injured No.1 Manuel Neuer. Kimmich protested that he was "a No.6" this summer, but as defensive midfielders go he has impressive attacking output: two assists this season and 10 progressive passes per 90 minutes over the last year, putting him in the top two percentiles of players in his position Europe-wide by that measure.

Kane, Boniface and Co. might grab more headlines, but this one could be won and lost in midfield. 

Creative young talents: Jamal Musiala vs Florian Wirtz

Watch: Musiala and Wirtz, Germany's next generation

While Xhaka and Kimmich battle it out behind them, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz will be expected to pull the strings further forward.

Wirtz is well underway this season, with a goal and two assists from his three appearances, but Musiala has only played 84 minutes of Bayern's campaign, coming off with a hamstring injury against Werder.

He is set to return - potentially alongside Wirtz - when Germany take on Japan and France in the international break. Both 20, each record-breaking No.10s, when they go head-to-head it'll be worth the entrance fee alone.

Coaches: Thomas Tuchel vs. Xabi Alonso

Watch: Tuchel vs. Alonso

Bayern protagonists past and present will in the dugouts in the champions' head coach Thomas Tuchel, and their former midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is now in charge at Leverkusen.

Alonso had the far superior playing career, winning three Bundesligas with Bayern as well as UEFA Champions Leagues with Liverpool and Real Madrid and a FIFA World Cup with Spain, whereas Tuchel's time as a lower-league centre-back was cut short by injury at 24.

But the former won his 11th major honour as a manager after leading Bayern to the Bundesliga title last season, and was a European and World champion with Chelsea previously.

Alonso won his first meeting with Bayern 2-1 last March, but Tuchel was yet to succeed Julian Nagelsmann, so Friday's game should prove something of a litmus test for both.