Bayer Leverkusen are enjoying a three-game winning run in the Bundesliga and could not have hoped for a better time to meet champions Bayern Munich in Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash.
Leverkusen have been superb this season, showing consistency and playing an exciting, attacking brand of football under their new Swiss coach Gerardo Seoane as they prepare to host a Bayern side who lead the table only on goal difference.
With an efficient pressing game, Leverkusen have scored eight times already straight after winning possession, with 18-year-old Florian Wirtz delivering a league-best five assists and also scoring four goals.
In total, Leverkusen have netted a club record 20 times in their first seven league games for the second-best attack in the Bundesliga, with Patrik Schick being their top scorer with six.
“The new coach has contributed greatly to this (unity),” Leverkusen’s Kerem Demirbay told Sport 1 broadcaster.
“He has a clear philosophy and he has lived it since day one here. The team understands that and goes along. He expects us to show a good mentality, team spirit, and to perform as one unit.”
Seoane’s Bundesliga start has so far been a success but it was a similar situation last year with Leverkusen facing Bayern midway through the season in a top-of-the-table clash but then finishing sixth to miss out on Champions League football.
The coach can count on midfielder Charles Aranguiz after the Chile international was sent off against Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday and was suspended for Thursday’s match against Venezuela, returning to Leverkusen sooner than expected.
Bayern are aiming for a record-extending 10th league title and 16 points while leading the league with 24 goals. They have few weaknesses but one has been dealing with counterattacks.
The Munich side paid the price for some sloppy defending with a 2-1 loss at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on the previous matchday. Julian Nagelsmann’s team will be working hard to avoid that against a team with a more lethal attack than Frankfurt’s.
“Leverkusen are extremely consistent and I am looking forward to the top game,” Nagelsmann told Munich’s Abendzeitung in an interview. “Florian Wirtz is an outstanding player. When you see how young their players are it is pretty impressive.”