The Bundesliga returns from its winter break in style when league leaders Bayern Munich travel to Bayer Leverkusen – on the longest unbeaten streak in the top flight (12 games) – on Friday night (kick-off: 20:30 CET/20:30 GMT).

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After a productive winter on home turf, Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich has the luxury of a fully fit squad from which to choose for the visit of the champions. His main dilemmas are in midfield – where Charles Aranguiz is expected to get the nod ahead of Julian Baumgartlinger – and at right wing-back. If Kai Havertz starts on the right, expect an attacking Bayer outfit; if Benjamin Henrichs is chosen, Herrlich will be going against his natural front-foot instincts to counter Bayern.

The defending champions will be without Robert Lewandowski, who is suffering from knee troubles, but have a ready-made replacement in winter signing Sandro Wagner – back at the club for a second bite at the cherry. Mats Hummels also misses out, while right-back Joshua Kimmich may only be fit enough for a place on the bench after illness. Elsewhere, goalkeeper Sven Ulreich will continue to deputise for Manuel Neuer, who remains on the sidelines along with Thiago. Franck Ribery comes into the game in fine form having scored a hat-trick against Sonnenhof Großaspach in a friendly on Tuesday.

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Probable line-ups

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Tah, S. Bender, Retsos – Havertz, L. Bender (c), Aranguiz, Wendell – Bailey, Volland, Brandt
Absentees: None
Coach: Heiko Herrlich

Bayern Munich: Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Süle, Alaba – Martinez, Vidal – Robben (c), James, Coman – Wagner
Absentees: Neuer (foot), Früchtl (foot), Hummels (groin), Lewandowski (knee), Thiago (muscle tear)
Coach: Jupp Heynckes

Match stats

  • Leverkusen have taken at least a point from nine of their last 17 Bundesliga meetings with Bayern (W3, D6).
  • Bayer’s Kevin Volland is the highest-scoring German in the Bundesliga this season (nine goals).
  • Die Werkself’s 12-match streak is currently the longest unbeaten run of any Bundesliga side.
  • Bayern have kicked off the second half of a season at Leverkusen on five previous occasions, winning their last three.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored just three times in 13 Bundesliga games against Leverkusen.
  • Heynckes led Leverkusen to second- and fourth-placed finishes between 2009-11.

Click here for the Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich MatchCentre!


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