Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen Odds, Picks, Prediction | Bundesliga Match Preview
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty. Pictured: Harry Kane.
Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen Odds
|Bayern Munich Odds||-175|
|Bayer Leverkusen Odds||+375|
|Over / Under|
-110 / -110
The Bundesliga returns on Friday with one of the most exciting fixtures of the entire season and a top four clash as Bayer Leverkusen visit Bayern Munich. Leverkusen and Bayern are the only two teams in the German top flight to take all nine points from their opening three fixtures and Xabi Alonso's Bayer side is showing promising performances in their underlying numbers to suggest their start to the year is no fluke.
Leverkusen's win in the opening week against RB Leipzig was an even contest throughout, but Alonso's side has thrashed Monchengladbach and Darmstadt in consecutive weeks. Bayer don't seem to be missing Patrik Schick or Moussa Diaby, in part because of the emergence and immediate impact of summer signings Victor Boniface and Jonas Hofmann. I don't think the market has upgraded Leverkusen enough from the early season results, and they're plenty live to give Bayern a scare on Friday.
Bayern's lack of real depth is going to be tested on Friday now that Joshua Kimmich is a doubt to start following an injury he picked up during the international break. They sold Ryan Gravenberch in the summer transfer window to Liverpool and that leaves them with just Konrad Laimer and Leon Goretzka in the double pivot role. Goretzka is at his best when pushing forward and Laimer's ball winning numbers have never been elite consistently.
They will also be without Jamal Musiala due to injury. Musiala proved last season that he's Bayern's best chance creator from central positions. We still haven't seen Harry Kane and Musiala play together much, but there's shades of the Dele Alli and Kane partnership from Spurs, except that Musiala is even better with the ball at his feet at creating for others.
The underlying numbers remain dominant for Bayern even without Musiala in the team, but they have an embarrassment of riches to replace him with Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller expected to start in front of Kane. The real question for Bayern is whether or not they can easily replace Kimmich without a drop off.
The defense will surely be tested by an improved Leverkusen attack as well.
No team in Germany has been upgraded in my numbers from preseason to right now more than Leverkusen. I was uncertain about how the pieces would all fit together after losing Diaby and not having Schick. As it turns out, Leverkusen's attack actually fits together really well and is likely better in 2023-24. It's no coincidence that Bayer's attack took a significant step forward last year once Florian Wirtz returned from his ACL injury.
Wirtz averaged 0.43 xG + xA per 90 last season in Germany and Europe and added a ton of passing and progressive carry value to this attack that doesn't quite show up in the xG numbers. Jonas Hofmann isn't a natural winger, but he's able to come inside often in this system because of the attacking outbursts from right wing back Jeremie Frimpong.
Hofmann posted 0.61 xG+xA per 90 each of his last two years in a Gladbach side that was declining around him. Granit Xhaka adds some real defensive solidity and ball winning to the midfield too. The real reason to be excited about Leverkusen in 2023-24 is Boniface. They signed him from Union Saint-Gilloise and he has four goals and two assists in his first three Bundesliga matches.
Boniface passes the eye test as an elite dribbler and ball progression monster as a forward. It's fair to wonder how a 0.5 xG + xA per 90 player in the Belgian league last year is taking off like this, but he's in his age 22 season and could be having the breakout leap into stardom. So far, Boniface is getting more than seven shots per 90 and has 1.14 xG + xA per 90.
This attacking front four gives Leverkusen elite upside in this Alonso system.
Bayern Munich vs Bayer Leverkusen
Pick & Prediction
Leverkusen's improved underlying numbers at both ends of the pitch leave them a tad undervalued in this match. If I pull just from last year's data, then Leverkusen should be about +1.1 goals here. It's important to not to overreact to the first three matches, but given their performance against a Leipzig side that I'm also high on, the bump in their ratings is warranted.
As a result of that and Bayern's injury situation, I'm betting Leverkusen +1 at -110 or better and sprinkling the moneyline at +380 or better.