Football

Bayern begin journey to life after Pep

The trip to Bayer Leverkusen will be Bayern Munich's first game since it was announced that coach Pep Guardiola would leave the Bavarians at the end of the season for Manchester City.
The trip to Bayer Leverkusen will be Bayern Munich's first game since it was announced that coach Pep Guardiola would leave the Bavarians at the end of the season for Manchester City. Reuters/Michael Dalder

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich head to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday looking for three points to steady the ship again after a turbulent week. Bayern are eight points clear of second placed Borussia Dortmund, but the players are still digesting the news that coach Pep Guardiola will spurn them at the end of the season. 

Advertising

The 45-year-old Spaniard will head to the English Premier League where he will take charge of Manchester City.

The deal is estimated to be worth 60 million euros over three years and City's Abu Dhabi based owners plan to provide the coach with a war chest so that he can attract the game's leading players to the Etihad Stadium.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the squad is trying to ignore the off-field event to focus on Leverkusen.

"The things which those outside try to stick on the team don't affect us," said the 29-year-old. "I can only repeat that we stick together."

Bayern has only won six of the last 13 games against Leverkusen and Bayer beat the Bavarians 2-0 last May when last year's league title was already won.

The hosts - who are fourth in the Bundesliga 21 points behind the visitors - will go into the fixture with confidence. Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last six games, dating back to the start of December.

The Mexico international Javier Hernandez has scored 13 times in 16 league appearances including a brace last week against Hanover 96. "Hernandez was really on fire in the last few minutes of the game and that's why you must never take a player like him off," said Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt. "He's always capable of deciding a game on his own."

Dortmund are also on the road on Saturday. They are in the capital to play third placed Hertha Berlin who have lost just one of their last nine games.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning