Bayern burning up the Bundesliga

Heynckes bossing it at Bayern. Photo courtesy wikimedia commons/Alexsandr OcinovMunich - In April of this year then Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes brought his 'Works Team' to town knowing that a win for his side would potentially serve a fatal blow to his future employer's (FC Bayern) Champions League hopes.

The visitors, cruelly christened "Neverkusen" due to their inability to turn their slick passing football into titles and silverware, were second best throughout against a clinically efficient Bayern side and slumped to a crushing 5-1 defeat.

Most of the talk pre-match that day had centred on Heynckes' motivation for a win at the Allianz Arena. Certain doubts were cast with several latent accusations of divided loyalty. Heynckes quashed these questions surrounding his professional integrity. But his side that day did nothing to improve the coach's case. Of course, Bayern went on to seal a Champions League spot later that season with Heynckes slipping back into the Bayern hot-seat as coach over the summer.

That heavy defeat would appear so typical for a Leverkusen side that could have closed to within two points of Borussia Dortmund and made the title race more meaningful. Of course it could have perhaps banished Bayern to the 'delights' of Europa League football.

Fast forward five months and under Heynckes Bayern sit proudly at the top of the Bundesliga having won five league games in a row, scoring 18 goals without reply. The record German champions have won eight straight matches in all competitions, racking up 23 unanswered goals.

Heynckes can again call upon the services of the Bundesliga's top scorer Mario Gomez, and Arjen Robben is also available ahead of a crunch week for the Bavarians.

Gomez missed last weekend's 2-0 victory against FC Schalke 04 due to a groin injury having notched seven goals in his previous two Bundesliga matches.

The German international looks set to replace Nils Petersen in the starting line-up to warm him up nicely for Tuesday's attractive Champions League clash with Manchester City.

"In all probability, Gomez will be able to start tomorrow," said Heynckes.

Robben could also be part of the squad, although Heynckes has urged caution with the 'Flying Dutchman', who has been troubled by a groin niggle for weeks.

"It is looking good, but we are going to have to be patient and see how things go," he said.

While Robben is still a doubt, Franck Ribéry is playing the game with a smile on his face, a massive transformation from last season's misery under former coach Louis van Gaal.

"I love my football again," said the Frenchman on the FCB website.  "It has been quite a long time since I was as happy as I am now. I have regained a lot of the self-confidence that I had lost in the past two years and I have high ambitions with FC Bayern.

"And that is why I give everything in every game."

Leverkusen's new coach Robin Dutt, who arrived in the summer from minnows SC Freiburg, is not planning to make any unnecessary changes to his side, despite last weekend's embarrassing 4-1 derby defeat to 1. FC Cologne.

He will instead show faith in a side that succumbed so miserably against their bitter local rivals, with the exception of the suspended big-money signing Andre Schürrle.

"I am 100% convinced about my team, because I have seen how the players have dealt with that defeat," he said.

"Of course we are not Bayern Munich, but we want to measure ourselves up to them and also win."

Dutt is without the suspended Michal Kadlec as well as Schürrle, while Michael Ballack (a former Bayern stalwart) is also likely to miss the game with the flu.

Leverkusen have managed to scrape just two draws in their last 17 Bundesliga games in Munich. The visitors last tasted victory on the Isar way back in October 1989. Bayern coach that day was a certain Mr. Jupp Heynckes.

Meanwhile,Bayern defender Breno will not be part of the Bavarians' squad as he recovers from smoke inhalation following a fire which destroyed his home earlier this week. The Brazilian is alleged to have deliberately set fire to his own villa. Police are now taking a keener look at the possible arson in Grünwald.

Kick-off at the Allianz Arena is 18:30.


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