Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Bayern, Leverkusen clash in high-stakes game

Published:Friday | September 30, 2022 | 12:11 AM
Bayern’s Sadio Mane (left)  talks with referee Harm Osmers while waiting for a VAR decision during the German Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, Germany  in August.
Bayern’s Sadio Mane (left) talks with referee Harm Osmers while waiting for a VAR decision during the German Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg in Munich, Germany in August.

MUNICH, Germany(AP):

Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are both in crisis before their high-stakes game in Munich restarts the Bundesliga after the international break. Bayern are without a win in four league games and ended a run of three straight draws by slumping to a 1-0 loss at Augsburg in their last game.

Leverkusen have only one win from their opening seven league games. Bayern will be expected to respond in front of their own fans and get their bid for a record-extending 11th straight title back on track. The many-time champions are already five points behind surprise leaders Union Berlin.

In Spain, Athletic Bilbao host Almería aiming for a win that would lift them level on points with Barcelona in second place in the Spanish league. The club that only fields players born in or near the Basque Country regions of Spain and France has excelled since the return of coach Ernesto Valverde. They have four wins, a draw and one loss this season to reach fourth place.

Nico Williams is enjoying a breakout season and could be heading for the World Cup in November. The 20-year-old winger and brother of teammate Iñaki Williams has scored in two consecutive rounds for Bilbao and provided the assist for Spain’s winner in a 1-0 victory over Portugal on Tuesday. That guaranteed Spain a spot in the Nations League’s Final Four tournament. Almeria have won only once in the league this season.

In France,Marseille are one of three unbeaten teams in the French top tier – along with league leaders Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lens – and a win at Angers will move them above PSG by one point.

Marseille coach Igor Tudor will be without goal-scoring left back Nuno Tavares, who is suspended. He must also decide whether to leave veteran striker Alexis Sanchez on the bench after he played two full matches for Chile during the recent international break. Angers are down in 14th place and have won only two games this season. But they were the last two and coach Gérald Baticle’s side is starting to settle down.