The Bundesliga returns this weekend after a lengthy winter break, and a cracking contest gets things back underway on Friday night. Bayer Leverkusen ended 2017 on a 12-game unbeaten streak and will hope to extend it, but they could not face sterner opposition. Bayern Munich are on course to be named Bundesliga champions for the sixth time in a row after opening up an 11-point lead at the top of the table. They won their last six games on the bounce before the winter break and will also return reinvigorated and ready to reassert their dominance over the league.
The BMR green-listed bookmaker odds on a Bayern Munich win in this game are absolutely fantastic and that is sure to be a popular bet. You can get 10/11 with Sky Bet and 17/20 on an away win, and that looks extremely tempting. That is where a lot of the action is going, and the odds are likely to shorten on Bayern over the next few hours. Bayern Munich have the league’s best away record, having won six of their nine games, and it is also worth noting that they have been markedly improved since replacing Carlo Ancelotti with Jupp Heynckes in October.
The former treble-winning boss was parachuted in to save the day after Bayern made a shaky start to the season and found themselves off the pace in the Bundesliga. He sparked an immediate revival and has secured a phenomenal 2.81 points per game in his 16 matches in charge. They have won 15 and lost just one, away at Borussia Monchengladbach in November. That will give Bayer Leverkusen hope in this game, but they have not had much joy against Bayern Munich in recent years.
In the last two seasons, Bayern Munich have taken four points off Leverkusen. Both games held in at the Bay Arena, Leverkusen’s home stadium, have finished 0-0, while Bayern have won both games held in Munich. The draw is 3/1 with William Hill and Betway in this game, and that is likely to tempt plenty of punters as the last two meetings here between these teams have finished all square. It is also worth pointing out that, despite dominating the Bundesliga for years, Bayern Munich have not won a game here since March 2013. It is an extremely difficult place to visit, and Leverkusen have maintained an unbeaten home record this season, winning four and drawing four. That might convince you to go for Leverkusen-draw double chance, which is evens with Green Listed Bookmakers.
Robert Lewandowski has now scored 15 goals this season, one every 92 minutes, and he looks a good bet at 3/4 with Betfred and Betway to score at any time in this game. Under 2.5 goals also looks interesting at 159/100 with Marathon Bet, as both teams will be a little rusty after a three-week break from playing football.
Bayern are now just 1/66 or 1/100 to win the Bundesliga after opening up what looks like another unassailable lead at the top of the table. But there is still intrigue as to who will grab the remaining Champions League places. Just six points separate second placed Schalke and 10th-placed Hertha Berlin, so the table is extremely congested and the race to win the Champions League riches is very competitive. Borussia Dortmund, who won their last two league games before the break to arrest a woeful run of form, are expected to nail down one of them, but several other teams are in the mix. Last year’s runners-up, RB Leipzig, are the 5/11 third favourites, followed by Schalke at 8/11 with Betway.
Then we come to Bayer Leverkusen, who currently occupy fourth place, at 3/4 with 888 Sport and various others. The likes of Monchengladbach and Hoffenheim are also in with a good chance, but Leverkusen’s strong home form and the threat of Kevin Volland up front makes them a really interesting choice. They are a big club, Champions League regulars and really finding their feet under Heiko Herrlich, and they have an excellent opportunity to return to Europe’s top table next season.