Can Bayern win the Bundesliga? They have shown countless times before they can come back from sticky situations, but this time they are battling a Bayer Leverkusen side determined to win their first Bundesliga title – as they currently sit top of the table and still unbeaten this season.
Bayern Munich are only four points behind them in second with a game in hand, but have surprise package VfB Stuttgart and fourth-placed RB Leipzig also staying on their tails.
Can Bayern win the Bundesliga? – Current outrights
Bayern Munich – 4/9
Despite Leverkusen leading the Bundesliga, it is Bayern who are favourites for the title according to betting markets. This is not a surprise, considering they pipped Borussia Dortmund to the title on the final day last season after trailing in the race, and have remarkably won the last 11 titles available.
Bayer Leverkusen – 9/4
Xabi Alonso's team are second-favourites with betting markets to lift their first-ever Bundesliga trophy. They will no doubt be Bayern's biggest threat to the title, and have got themselves in the best position possible ahead of the Ruckrunde.
RB Leipzig – 80/1
Leipzig are distant favourites to win their maiden Bundesliga, as they are nine points behind Leverkusen in fourth. It will be difficult to close the gap to them and Bayern, so a title win seems highly unlikely at this stage.
VfB Stuttgart – 200/1
The fact Stuttgart have got themselves in third place and eight points off the top at this stage of the season is remarkable, but a title win looks a step too far according to betting markets. Still, they can be proud of mixing it up with some of the bigger powerhouses in the league.
Kane key to another title comeback?
After beating Dortmund at the death to win their 32nd Bundesliga title last season, Bayern will be looking to chase down Leverkusen this time around. Harry Kane is a key to their armoury that they did not have in the last campaign, and could be crucial in getting them over the line once again.
He has scored a remarkable 21 Bundesliga goals since joining from Tottenham Hotspur this summer, and is odds-on to finish as the league's top scorer. Kane will be as determined as anyone to help win the title, having not lifted a major trophy in his senior club career so far. In the second half of last season's Premier League campaign, Kane scored 15 goals in a team that failed make Europe, so the damage he could do for Bayern is lethal.
Bayern's own Ruckrunde last season saw them win four of their last five matches to beat Dortmund to the title, while they also defeated their challengers 4-2 at the Allianz Arena in April. Nonetheless, they are known to be able to finish the campaign strongly, and so Leverkusen must keep on their toes.
Can Bayern win the Bundesliga? – Key fixtures
10th February – Bayer Leverkusen (A)
The crunch match is in February when Bayern travel to Leverkusen knowing a defeat would do serious damage to their title hopes. They have had recent success in this fixture, winning six of their last nine H2Hs and losing only once, but Leverkusen are a stronger nut to crack now.
24th February – RB Leipzig (H)
Bayern meet two of their title challengers in the space of two weeks next month as Leipzig come to visit. Thomas Tuchel's side were held to a draw in the reverse fixture – one of only three games they have dropped points in – and have failed to beat them in four H2Hs, having lost the DFL-Supercup 3-0 to them in August, so know what a tough task it will be to take three points.
4th May – VfB Stuttgart (A)
Stuttgart are the Bundesliga's surprise package this season, and can do damage to any opponent on their day. An away trip at the back-end of the campaign may prove daunting for Bayern, but they should be confident on getting the job done, having won seven of their previous nine H2Hs without losing.