The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
5 things to know about the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen hosting Bayern Munich on Saturday
FRANKFURT - The trio of clubs atop the Bundesliga have already opened up a significant gap seven games into the season and Bayer Leverkusen can definitely make it a three-horse race for the title if it beats defending champion Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Front-runner Borussia Dortmund travels to Moenchengladbach riding its best start to a season. Never before have the top three teams all won six of seven games at the start. Here are five things to know about the upcoming Bundesliga weekend.
LEVERKUSEN'S BEST START
Leverkusen is off to its best start in club history, and is already six points clear of fourth place — the best third-place team at this stage in Bundesliga history. Stefan Kiessling and Sidney Sam have scored five goals apiece. Leverkusen is the last team to beat Bayern in the Bundesliga and Kiessling has five goals against Manuel Neuer, the best record against the Bayern and Germany goalkeeper.
Bayern is undefeated in its last 33 Bundesliga matches over two seasons — but the last loss came against Leverkusen. Leverkusen has won two of the last three matches against Bayern. The last game between the two clubs to finish without goals was in 1990.
Bayern has won its last 18 matches when Arjen Robben played, while Franck Ribery hasn't lost in the last 37 games he's played for the club — putting him one win from tying the Bundesliga record. If Bayern wins in Leverkusen, Pep Guardiola will have the best club start as coach along Ottmar Hitzfeld in 1998.
BAYERN'S MUDDLED TALK
Bayern captain Philipp Lahm is trying to talk his way out of a self-made controversy — and not very well. Shortly before Bayern's trip to Manchester City in the Champions League, Lahm appeared to be criticizing sporting director Matthias Sammer in an interview with Die Zeit magazine. Sammer himself had come under fire from top management for speaking out against some run-of-the mill, boring Bayern performances in the Bundesliga that lacked passion. Lahm then said such criticism should be expressed internally and not in the media. Sammer said he had spoken to Lahm before the 3-1 win at City and that they had a "super relationship" and that Lahm had not meant his comments to sound as they did. Lahn also appeared on German television to say that his comments were "not an attack," although they may have sounded like one, and claimed he had been misunderstood. But Lahm seemed to be struggling for words to explain what he meant exactly, saying the comments were about him and his role as team captain.
DORTMUND'S TITLE AMBITION
Despite having to give up Mario Goetze to Bayern, Dortmund is off to its best start and has scored at least one goal in its last 31 Bundesliga matches, one away from equaling a club record. Should it win in Moenchengladbach, it will break the club record with 22 points after eight rounds. Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have 11 goals between them and Dortmund is the highest scoring team with 21 goals, giving it a four-goal edge over Bayern on goal difference.
(1 of 50 articles for this week)12/9/2013 8:35 PM 0