Seeking a Leverkusen cure
Bayern are up against a formidable run as they kick off the second half of the season: The Bavarians have only record one win on their last four visits to Bayer Leverkusen (3 draws, 1 loss). The record champions have also failed to score in the last three of those encounters. Bayern's last win at the Werkself was in March 2013 (2-1). The FCB coach at the time? Jupp Heynckes! fcbayern.com has gathered all the stats and figures you need to know for Friday night's game.
Despite results in the last four games in Leverkusen not going FCB's way, the record champions still lead the head-to-head record with 15 wins from 38 games on Bayer turf (10 draws, 13 defeats). The overall record is even more clear-cut with 45 victories from 77 meetings (16 draws, 16 defeats).
Two members of the Bayern team return to their old stomping ground on Friday evening. Heynckes was the coach at Leverkusen from 2009 to 2011, leading them to second place in his second season in charge -- their best finish since 2001/02. Arturo Vidal also has history at the Werkself, making 117 Bundesliga appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011 (15 goals, 18 assists). FCB assistant coach Peter Hermann has also been employed in various roles at the club, while current Leverkusen boss Heiko Herrlich was once an U-17 coach at Bayern.
Wagner the Leverkusen expert
Bayern's new (old) striker Sandro Wagner could face his favourite opposition in this fixture should he feature. The forward has four goals and two assists to his name in nine games against the Werkself, which is more than he's managed against any other Bundesliga team.
Bayer hungry for goals
Leverkusen matches have been good for goals this season with 57 scored in their 17 Bundesliga ties this term -- that's an average of 3.4 per game. Home fans in particular are getting value for money having not seen their team lose at the BayArena all season (4 wins, 5 draws), with Herrlich's side scoring at least two goals in seven of those nine matches.
Winless against the top 5
Leverkusen are on a 12-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga (6 wins, 6 draws), which is currently the longest streak in the league. They last lost on matchday 5 in Berlin (2-1). However, the Werkself have struggled against the top sides, failing to win any of their matches against Bayern, Schalke, Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig (3 draws).
Earliest Bayern start since 1980
The last time FCB contested their first competitive fixture of a calendar year so early was on 12 January 1980 when they faced Bayreuth in the DFB Cup. Fielding a team including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner, the competition favourites were spectacularly knocked out of the competition (1-0) on a snow-covered pitch.
Siebert in charge
Daniel Siebert from Berlin is the official for this opening Bundesliga fixture of 2018. He last took charge of a Bayern came in December when FCB beat Köln 1-0. His assistants for this game are Lasse Koslowski and Alexander Sather. The fourth official is Marcel Pelgrim, while Christian Dingert acts as the video assistant.