Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich: DFB-Pokal Preview & Prediction
The 2020 DFB-Pokal reaches its conclusion on Saturday as Bayer Leverkusen face Bayern Munich in the final at the Olympiastadion.
Leverkusen are hopeful of lifting the Pokal for the first time in 27 years, winning it for the only time in 1993. Die Werkself could do a lot with a piece of silverware to conclude this season after missing out on a Champions League spot by just two points
On the other end, Bayern Munich are focusing to grab their 20th Pokal and their 11th of the century. Munich have a chance to win their 13th double in their glorious history.
Head to Head
Out of the last 22 games between the sides, Bayern Munich have managed to win 12 of them while Leverkusen have won five. However, when we see the last five matches between them the competition is tight with Bayern winning three and Leverkusen with two wins. Bayern’s first of the three wins include a DFB-Pokal semi-final in the year 2018.
Seeing Leverkusen’s recent performances against the champions shows that the game may not be a completely one-sided one.
Bayer Leverkusen ended their Bundesliga season on a high, earning a close win against Mainz courtesy of a Kevin Volland’s strike. The team still struggled to finish in the top four, instead finished fifth and will now contest in the Europa League next season.
But Leverkusen’s Pokal run has been promising since they’ve managed to reach the finals for the first time since 2009. The road to Berlin has been tough for Die Werkself but their wins against Paderborn and Union Berlin on the road were a treat to watch. Leverkusen took down fourth-tier FC Saarbrucken to finalize their place in the finals in the Olympiastadion.
Bayern Munich have again emerged out as the only kings of the league and Borussia Dortmund’s strong efforts to maintain the gap after football resumed was not enough to take Hansi Flick's side down. Sealing their 30th title and finishing 13 points clear of Dortmund who were considered their strongest competitors this season proves how magnificent Bayern have been.
Die Roten are on a ruthless 24-game unbeaten streak and that includes 13 straight wins. Surprisingly their run in the DFB-Pokal has not been that great. Having proved themselves as the best defensive side in Germany’s top-flight this season, Munich have managed only a single clean sheet in the Pokal and Leverkusen must have made a note of it.
Bayern defeated Hoffenheim, Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt on their road to the finals.
Bayer Leverkusen have fortunately only one player missing out due to injury and that is the young winger Paulinho who is out due to a cruciate ligament injury and is expected to return next year.
Corentin Tolisso will be missing the game for Bayern Munich, having not being able to fully recover from a knee injury. Niklas Sule and Javi Martinez are also concerns for the clash while the young German duo of Jann-Fiete Arp and Lars Lukas Mai are also unsure.
Charles Aranguiz vs Leon Goretzka
Both midfielders have had an amazing 2019-20 season and thus, it is hard to pick the winner of this battle.
Aranguiz has only a goal and three assists to his name but his defensive work has been one of the best in the league. The Chilean has a very solid tackle success percentage and has been the best for Leverkusen when it comes to clearances, be it a through ball in the gap or an aerial long ball.
Goretzka has been more dangerous in attacking positions, scoring seven goals and assisting five. Despite enormous competition on the bench Goretzka has been one of the standouts in the team. He has gained Flick's trust and that is a big statement in itself.
The head to head between these two will be an interesting one as Aranguiz doesn't let pass anyone through him so easily while Goretzka's dribble success percentage has been up to the mark this season.
Kevin Volland vs Robert Lewandowski
There are no doubts when we talk about Lewandowski and his form this season. The man was in form before football's suspension, the man was in form after it too.
Having scored 34 goals and assisted four, the Pole has probably been the best striker in Europe's top five leagues. Be it the Champions League or Bundesliga, Lewandowski has barely failed to make his mark on the scoresheet.
However, the upcoming final could be anyone's game as Leverkusen will be hugely dependent on Kevin Volland to do well while supporting Havertz. The latter has managed to surprise a lot of viewers but it is Volland's contributions in crucial games that has kept Leverkusen running this season. Die Werkself's last game against Mainz was a prime example.
Volland may not be as established as Lewandowski but the German will definitely fancy his chances to at least out perform the in-form Pole in the final.
The DFB-Pokal final is expected to be a nail-biting one. The last two league meetings between the teams have witnessed nine goals and that is a clear sign of the entertainment coming up. However, Bayern Munich starting the game strongly can cause problems for Leverkusen who have already been on a 27-year wait to lift the trophy.
It is still said that Leverkusen can beat anyone on their day and being the last team to beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena, Peter Bosz’s side will be up for a tight game. However, being undefeated in this calendar year, Hansi Flick’s side will be on the pitch with high spirits and will be looking forward to giving Leverkusen a really tough time.
Predicted scoreline: Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich