Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich: Bundesliga – live | Bundesliga

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Key events

27 min Bayern continue to dominate the ball, but they’ve been all hate and no cattle. Harry Kane has been very quiet.

As I type, Mazraoui cuts inside from right wing-back and curls a tame long-range shot straight at Hradecky.

24 min Sacha Boey ran away from the ball – and Stanisic – just before the goal, a slightly odd bit of defending not dissimilar to Stuart Pearce’s in the Euro 96 semi-final.

23 min Grimaldo’s corner is headed towards goal by Tah and pushed over by Neuer. A comfortable save but a decent effort.

23 min: Good save by Neuer! Leverkusen are hurting Bayern on the break. Hincapie, just past the halfway line, clips a lovely angled pass over the defence towards Tella. His volley on the run is pushed away by Neuer and Wirtz’s follow-up from the edge of the area deflects behind for another corner.

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20 min Just before the goal, Adli was put through on goal after a good Leverkusen break. The ball got stuck under his feet and he was challenged by a defender, who inadvertenetly poked the ball towards his own goal. Neuer dived to his right to save and the ball was turned behind for a corner.

A corner on the left was taken short to Andrich, who beat a man and drove a low ball across the face of goal. Bayern’s defence were… actually I’ve no idea what they were doing, but they allowed the ball to run beyond the far post to the unmarked Stanisic. He finished calmly and put his arms straight up as if to apologise for scoring.

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GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Bayern (Stanisic 18)

Never mind that chance: Josip Stainisic has scored against his parent club!

17 nin Bayern are dominating possession, though Leverkusen seem okay with that. They look dangerous in transition and have just another decent chance.

15 min Pavlovic goes down holding his face after running into Andrich’s shoulder. I say ‘running into’, but Andrich wasn’t exactly averse to the contact. The referee isn’t interested and Pavlovic soon gets to his feet.

13 min Goretzka curls a first-time shot over the bar from the edge of the D after decent play from Sane. It’s very cagey.

11 min The first half chance falls to Leverkusen. With most of the players in the Leverkusen half, Upamecano mishits a weird lobbed pass back towards his own goal. Tella cushions a header into the path of Adli, who rifles a low drive straight at Neuer from the edge of the area.

9 min A hitherto passive Leverkusen pick their moment to press, and Dier has to slide desperately to stop Wirtz nicking the ball off him and moving through on goal. It wasn’t Dier’s fault, really; Goretzka gave him a dodgy pass.

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6 min There’s been an early goal in the match between Real Madrid and Girona. Niall McVeigh is watching that one.

5 min Loads of early possession for Bayern, with Leverkusen sitting surprisingly deep.

2 min As expected, Bayern have homaged Leverkusen’s 3-4-2-1 formation, but Sacha Boey has started at left wing-back with Noussair Mazraoui staying on the right.

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1 min In the words of Etta James, thank eff for that. The match begins around eight minutes after the scheduled start, with Bayern kicking from right to left as we watch.

“When Harry met Xabi,” is the subject of Peter Oh’s email. “Wow, a Bundesliga MBM! To whom do we owe this special treat? A certain Herr Harald Kähn, I presume? No offense to Herr Erich Daier.”

Heh, I reckon we’d have covered this anyway. And in May 2020, the Guardian was Bundesliga central.

The pitch is still being cleared, and the referee has gone across to talk to the two benches.

Stewards collect sweets that have been thrown on the pitch. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images

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0 min In fact the kick off has been delayed: fans have thrown a load of sweets and toy balls onto the field, the latest protest against potential outside investment in the Bundesliga. Good on them.

Free candy all over the field, eh.

NB: clip contains some lively language

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1 min Now is the time for wine and cigarettes football.

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Here come the players. Harry Kane has his game face well and truly applied. This is his biggest club game since the Champions League final of 2019.

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“The mind boggles!” says Joe Pearson. “Two wannabe Leicesters are both facing their main rivals for their respective league titles at the exact same time. Which one should I watch? I certainly think the Alonso angle makes Leverkusen more interesting, so I’m riding with you (apologies to Niall).”

You should follow both – we don’t believe in blogogamy round these parts. (Also, I’m not quite sure Leverkusen are a wannabe Leicester – they’ve been runners-up five times and reached the Champions League final in the wine-and-cigarettes spring of 2002. I can’t think of an English comparison, at least not in my lifetime.)

How Bayern could line up

In fact this formation makes a lot more sense with the XI that Thomas Tuchel has picked.

Bayern Munich (3-4-2-1) Neuer; Upamecano, Dier, Kim, Boey, Pavlovic, Goretzka, Mazraoui; Sane, Musiala; Kane.

Tuchel asked whether it will be a back 3 or back 4 system: “We’ll see. I can’t say anything now. The game is way too important for that” [@SkySportDE]

— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) February 10, 2024

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Jonathan Liew’s preview

Lothar Matthaus’s preview

Team news

Both managers have made interesting choices, which puts them one up on Grady Tripp. Xabi Alonso has picked the young Moroccan striker Amine Adli ahead of Patrick Schick and Borja Iglesias. Nathan Tella, once of Southampton and Burnley, and Josip Stanisic, who is on loan from Bayern, are surprisingly preferred to Jonas Hofmann and Jeremie Frimpong.

Kim Min-jae is back from the Asian Cup and replaces Thomas Muller. That means either Thomas Tuchel will copy Bayer’s 3-4-2-1 formation, or Eric Dier will move into midfield. The new signing Sacha Boey replaces the injured Alphonso Davies, with Noussair Mazraoui moving across to left-back. Joshua Kimmich is fit enough for the bench.

Bayer Leverkusen (3-4-2-1) Hradecky; Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie; Stanisic, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo; Tella, Wirtz; Adli.
Substitutes: Kovar, Fosu-Mensah, Frimpong, Hofmann, Mbamba, Puerta, Iglesias, Schick, Hlozek.

Bayern Munich (possible 4-2-3-1) Neuer; Boey, Upamecano, Kim, Mazraoui; Dier, Pavlovic; Sane, Goretzka, Musiala; Kane.
Substitutes: Ulreich, De Ligt, Guerreiro, Aznou, Kimmich, Zvonraek, Choupo-Moting, Muller, Tel.

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The Guardian understands Xabi Alonso is desperate to succeed Jurgen Klopp. No, not at Anfield, but as the last manager to stop Bayern Munich winning the Bundesliga. Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund were champions in 2011-12, since when Bayern have won 11 titles in a row, many in second gear. Last season they couldn’t even give the thing away.

Dortmund, Bayern’s main challengers in recent years, have often flattered to deceive. Leverkusen could be made of sterner stuff. They haven’t lost a game all season in any competition, and their consistency is such that Bayern’s points total of 50 is a Bundesliga record for a team in second place after 20 games.

A win would put Leverkusen, who have never won the Bundesliga, five points clear with 13 matches to play. Victory for Bayern would put them top, end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run and change the mood of the title race at a stroke.

Kick off 5.30pm BST, 6.30pm in Leverkusen.

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