Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich Bundesliga Odds, Picks & Predictions (Saturday, Dec. 19)
Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Robert Lewandowski.
- Bayer Leverkusen is surprise leaders in the Bundesliga as we head into the new year.
- On Saturday, Leverkusen meets title favorite Bayern Munich.
- Where is the betting value in this top-of-the-table clash? Matthew Trebby spells it out:
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich Odds
|Bayer Leverkusen Odds||+290 [BET NOW]|
|Bayern Munich Odds||-120 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+300 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3.5 (-108/-115) [BET NOW]|
|Time||12:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
Bayern Munich head to the western part of Germany for a top-two clash in the Bundesliga, as they look to take back the league’s top spot from Bayer Leverkusen.
Leverkusen’s success has been based on a strong defense and some impressive attacking play from its young core up top. This will be the most difficult challenge of their season so far, though. It might not definitively determine whether they’re “for real” as Bundesliga contenders this season, but it will provide a good litmus test for their potential.
Let’s find the value.
Bayer Leverkusen sit atop the Bundesliga table for two reasons: a strong defense and clinical finishing.
Manager Peter Bosz’s side was boosted massively by the signing of center back Edmond Tapsoba in January from Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal. Tapsoba has been one of the best defenders in Germany, and Europe, since his arrival.
Regardless of who is playing next to Tapsoba, Leverkusen have thrived in the back this season. They rank second in the Bundesliga at 10.15 non-penalty expected goals allowed on the season. Leverkusen have conceded just once in their last four games.
In front of goal, Lucas Alario has eight goals in nine appearances this season, although his xG total is just 3.72. The departure of Kevin Volland to Monaco opened the door for him to get more consistent playing time.
Supporting him on either wing are playmakers Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby, both of whom have a sweet left foot and plenty of pace. Replacing Kai Havertz in the team is 17-year-old Florian Wirtz, who has two goals and four assists on the season.
For a club like Bayern Munich, the last five matches have yielded subpar results. The Bavarian giants have nine points from their last five, winning two with three draws.
The biggest potential worry from Bayern’s recent form is a lack of creation. Since a 5-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern’s highest expected goals total has been 1.67, and that was from a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.
What Bayern have going for them is incredible quality in front of goal, headlined by the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year, striker Robert Lewandowski, who has 15 goals in 906 minutes this season in the Bundesliga. That’s one goal every 60.4 minutes of play.
The biggest difference can be found in midfield, where Bayern have been without Joshua Kimmich for the past month. The German star is going to be in the squad for this game, but it’s unsure what kind of role he will be fit to fill.
In an ideal world, it’d be Kimmich and fellow German Leon Goretzka in the midfield for Bayern. Corentin Tolisso will likely start this game as the only 100% fit, proven player in the center of the pitch. Marc Roca will get consideration, although he is yet to take advantage of any opportunities given to him in his first season with Bayern.
Against Wolfsburg on Wednesday, Bayern pretty much had a one-man midfield in Tolisso. Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane all started ahead of him and behind striker Robert Lewandowski, although that all-out-attacking lineup didn’t yield great results. Although Bayern won, 2-1, they were outshot and only had 59% of possession.
I hate putting this down to one player’s fitness, but if Kimmich starts for Bayern, their chances improve massively. With two midfielders balancing the team, the Bavarians are vastly superior to their current version with just Tolisso in the center of the park.
Going off what is certain about this game, though, Bayern are not creating chances at an impressive rate while Leverkusen is defending at a successful one in terms of goals allowed. One concern is that between recent December games against Schalke and Hoffenheim, Leverkusen allowed just one goal even though the two opposing sides combined for 1.90 xG, indicating there were chances to be had that a superior side would have finished — you know, like Bayern and Lewandowski.
Because of that, as well as Bayern’s incredible bevy of attacking talent, I’m going to back the Bavarians here. I expect a relatively open game, especially if Kimmich is not in the starting XI, and Bayern have a knack for getting results in big games like this.
Bayern aren’t likely to win a 1-0, grind-it-out kind of game here, so backing their moneyline at -120 parlayed with their team over of 1.5 (-215) gets you down to -104.