How have Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski performed against Bayer Leverkusen in the past? How many times have Friday's hosts lost a season opener? Do Die Werkself's numbers against the champions add up? The first Stat Gems of 2017/18 reveal all!
It’s been a tough summer for our statistics minions, whose first complaint on their collective return to duty at Bundesliga HQ came, of course, in number form: 90 days, they moaned. That’s quite a stretch between the end of Bayern Munich’s final day title celebrations and the defending champions’ 2017/18 opener against Bayer Leverkusen. However, our digit addicts’ collective frowns were turned upside down once the figures started to fly ahead of Friday night’s return to the big time. The Bundesliga is back!
Hark back to a time when German men boasted huge hair, sported leather trousers and matching waistcoats and sang songs like, “Damn it, I love you!” and you begin to get a feel for what it was like to be alive the last time Bayern and Leverkusen opened a Bundesliga season.
It was August 11, 1990, not long after Germany were crowned world champions, and with singer Matthias Reim serenading a nation with the Number 1 hit, ‘Verdammt, Ich Lieb' Dich’ (we urge a YouTube view), that the Olympiastadion in Munich hosted a 1-1 draw to signal the start of the 28th Bundesliga campaign. Stefan Effenberg brought Bayern level with an 86th minute equaliser that day, after Ulf Kirsten had put the visitors ahead.
That Leverkusen’s very first top-flight game against the Bavarian giants came when disco was dominating the world in August 1979 is a story for another day, but what is more pertinent is that Friday night will see the teams meet for the sixth time on an opening matchday. And Bayern are good at getting a show started, so good, in fact, that they have never lost an official Friday Bundesliga kick-starter, winning 12 and drawing three of their 15 curtain raisers. They’ve also struck the season’s first goal on 12 occasions.
But fear not, Bayer fans, for our number crunchers can rally to your game-night cause too. Sure, Bayern have that Superman of goalscoring, Robert Lewandowski, but your club crest acts like kryptonite to the otherwise prolific Pole. In 12 Bundesliga games against Leverkusen, Lewy has scored just twice – and that was with Borussia Dortmund. Indeed, last season’s 30-goal gargantuan has yet to net against Die Werkself for Bayern following four encounters.
If anyone can inspire the visitors to stun the reigning champions, it is new Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich, who enjoyed a significant win on his last visit to the Allianz Arena, his former Jahn Regensburg team defeating 1860 Munich in the second leg of a relegation-promotion decider last May. Yet this week’s figures seem to slightly favour the hosts, who have lost only three of their 38 Bundesliga home games against Leverkusen.
The away side have collected just one win in their last 29 trips to face Bayern while in the teams’ last 27 meetings in Munich, the hosts have scored at least a goal. However, whatever else may happen, we know we can expect high drama and awesome excitement when the ball finally starts rolling in our favourite division. Damn it Bundesliga, we love you!