The buzz in Germany, extending even to the entire football world, revolves around the upcoming summit on Saturday between champion Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, which are leading the overall standings by two points.
In parallel with this dialogue, an early psychological duel erupted between the two sides, initiated by the Bavarians. Jan Driessen, CEO of Bayern Munich, responded when asked whether losing the title to Leverkusen this season would be less painful than losing it to Borussia Dortmund: “Look, I don’t engage with such type of ideas for a reason; of course, we will win the title this season.”
He further stated, “This is our aim. We aspire to be champions. Who am I to set any goal other than this one?”
Herbert Hainer, president of Bayern Munich, commented on the intense rivalry between the two teams: “We aim to disturb them (Bayer Leverkusen) with victories until they become nervous.”
Quickly, a response came from Spaniard Xabi Alonso, coach of Bayer Leverkusen, who stated that he wasn’t even thinking about Saturday’s summit, but he was rather focusing on facing Stuttgart in the German Cup quarter-finals, labeling them as tough opponents.
However, despite these words, both parties acknowledge the significant importance of the encounter in determining the season’s champion. Although Bayern feels they are in peak condition currently, following their performance against Borussia Mönchengladbach last Saturday, where they secured a 3-1 victory, their goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, said: “Regardless of our results in the period preceding that match, many factors become irrelevant in such encounters. We will see who will be better on this day.”
He continued, “Things are somewhat different now from how they were before, because we are currently the team that is striving to seize the lead. Naturally, we aim to change that by securing three points against Leverkusen.”
Neuer went on to say, “Every player wearing a Bayern Munich jersey anticipates these kinds of matches. This sentiment extends to the Champions League, most encounters against Borussia Dortmund, and a fixture like the one against Leverkusen, who are enjoying a great season. It’s a significant match that we eagerly await.”.
For his part, Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel declared: “We will go to Leverkusen with the clear objective of inflicting their first defeat.”
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