Despite the absence of Robert Lewandowski, Flick has worked well to weather the storm and continue Bayern’s charge to retaining the Meisterschale, with the Bavarians now boasting a seven-point gap ahead of Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig. Without the distraction of Europe, the reigning champions will now be focusing all of their energy on seeing the season out and achieving domestic supremacy once again.
Leverkusen meanwhile are still pushing to break the top-four glass ceiling and sneak a European place. Peter Bosz was relieved of his managerial duties at the end of March, but interim coach Hannes Wolf has overseen two wins and a draw to his temporary tenure. With just six points the difference between themselves in sixth and Frankfurt in fourth, there is still plenty to play for.
Bayern Munich (vs Wolfsburg): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Hernandez, Davies; Kimmich, Alaba, Muller, Sane, Musiala; Choupo-Moting.
Bayer Leverkusen (vs Cologne): Hradecky; Jedvaj, Bender, Tapsoba; Diaby, Arangiuz, Palacios, Wendell; Amiri, Bailey, Schick.
Although Robert Lewandowski has returned to training he remains doubtful to feature here and may not be risked until the weekend’s contest against Mainz, which may also see the return of Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka. Leverkusen meanwhile are without Paulinho, Santiago Arias, Julian Baumgartlinger and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Bayern Munich: It was another step towards prominence for Jamal Musiala at the weekend, who notched a timely brace to continue his rapid emergence as a world-class stripling and the next talent to emerge from Germany’s esteemed production line. The 18-year-old has been a regular fixture under Flick this term, featuring 33 times across all competitions and amassing an impressing seven-goal haul, including once in the Champions League. Blessed with a balletic stride and twinkle-toed brilliance, Musiala just adds that extra creative ingredient to Flick’s porridge, making Bayern a ruthless attacking force in the process and capable of coping when big stars go down to injury.
Bayer Leverkusen: Musiala wasn’t the only impressive attacker to net a brace at the weekend, as Leon Bailey also bagged twice to hand Die Werkself a 3-0 win over Cologne, just keeping their slight top-four hopes alive and maintaining Wolf’s impressive start to his interim tenure. Bailey, 23, has had another impressive campaign at the BayArena, combining his instinctive eye for the net with an extreme playmaker quality that has culminated in 15 direct goal contributions in the Bundesliga (the most of any Leverkusen player this term). If Leverkusen are to ask questions of the top four and mount a late push for Europe, then quality of Bailey’s ilk will be key to, not only that end, but also the club’s chances of causing an upset in midweek against the perennial champions.