4 Key Battles That Could Decide Bayern Munich's Clash With Bayer Leverkusen on Friday Night

Bayern Munich face Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena on Friday night in the first Bundesliga fixture of 2018.

Bayern beat Leverkusen 3-1 in the reverse fixture in August, however it won't be plain sailing this time out against an in-form Leverkusen side who will be seeking revenge.

Here are four key battles that could decide the match on Friday night:

4. Julian Brandt vs Joshua Kimmich

One man in particular who will be keeping a close eye on this key battle will be Germany manager Joachim Low. Joshua Kimmich is all but guaranteed a spot on the plane to Russia in the summer, however questions still remain over Julian Brandt.

The winger has been tipped to be the next big star to come out of Germany, and was given the number ten jersey at the beginning of the season; a sign from the club that they expect the German to be their star man.

Brandt knows that he is not guaranteed a starting role for the national team, and therefore the winger will be trying his best to outwit his fellow countryman on Friday night in the hopes of becoming a regular starter for Germany.

3. Jonathan Tah vs Sandro Wagner

The man mountain that is Jonathan Tah has been outstanding for Leverkusen this season. The German international has missed only one league game so far and is set to start against Bayern on Friday.

Sandro Wagner made the move from Hoffenheim to Bayern during the January window, and with Robert Lewandowski injured, is set to make his BuLi debut for his new club this weekend.

Wagner has been out for some time with injury and it won't be the easiest comeback against Tah. This key battle will be physical more than technical, with both players very good in the air.

If the supply lines are good - as they usually are - for Wagner, then it could be a long night for Tah and his fellow defenders.

2. Leon Bailey vs David Alaba

Leon Bailey has been easily one of Leverkusen's best players this season. The Jamaican has six goals and four assists in 14 Bundesliga appearance this campaign. Bayern will need to keep tabs on the winger on Friday night, or they could find themselves leaving the BayArena with their tail between their legs.

The man tasked with keeping Bailey quiet will be the ever-reliable David Alaba. The Austrian has already come up against the best in the world, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the raw talent of the young Jamaican. 

1. Wendell vs Arjen Robben

After a short period out, Arjen Robben is set to make his return against Leverkusen on Friday night. At the age of 33, the winger is still possesses the ability to turn any game around. 

The man up against the flying Dutchman is Wendell. The Brazilian is known mostly for his attacking threat, however on Friday he will most likely be on the back foot for the majority of the game.

Against Robben on Friday night Wendell will need to forget about his attacking and focus on his defensive responsibilities. This key battle will be decided in the first few minutes of the game, as if Robben gets the better of the Brazilian early on, then it could be a long night for the left-back.