Bundesliga and La Liga Will Bayern Munich and Real Madrid be surprised by the underdogs

The leagues in Germany and Spain have produced unlikely title contenders this season, and Saturday could prove to be a crucial day when the underdog teams face off against the traditional giants.

In the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen leads the table and hosts Bayern Munich (17:30 GMT), who are in second place, two points behind Xabi Alonso’s team.

In La Liga, Girona travels to Real Madrid (17:30 GMT) knowing that a victory would place them above Carlo Ancelotti’s team and into first place.

BBC Sport closely analyzes the two matches that could be hugely significant in determining who ultimately wins the league titles.

Leverkusen threatens to thwart Kane’s trophy hopes

When Harry Kane moved from Tottenham to Bayern in August, it seemed like the end of his long wait for a trophy was an inevitable conclusion.

The German giants have won the Bundesliga every season since missing out in 2011-12, but in Kane’s first campaign, their hopes of continuing that streak are being seriously threatened by Leverkusen.

Alonso’s team leads with an incredible 52 points out of a possible 60, a form that has led to their head coach being linked with Liverpool.

Bayern is just behind with 50 points, and this is the first time in Bundesliga history that two teams have accumulated 50 points after 20 matches.

As far as top-of-the-table clashes go, it doesn’t get much bigger than this, with Bayern having to travel to the BayArena knowing that a victory would put them at the top, but a defeat would leave them five points adrift.

Bayern was pushed to the limit last season as well, with Borussia Dortmund narrowly missing out on the title on the final day of the season.

German football journalist Raphael Honigstein said on the BBC Football Daily Euro Leagues podcast: “What is different this year compared to recent years – where Bayern has seemed vulnerable and other teams seem like they might make it – is that Bayern was having a poor season, but this year Bayern is having a great season.

“They have 50 points, Leverkusen has 52 out of 60. It’s unbelievable consistency.

“It’s not a matter of Bayern being weak and another team being good. Bayern is decent, and another team is playing at a level that seems almost unsustainable.”

The big factor in favor of Bayern Munich is Kane.

The England captain has had a brilliant first season in Germany and is the league’s top scorer with 24 goals.

Despite that impressive record, Kane is determined to be even better in the second half of the campaign.

He told BBC Sport: “We have a big game coming up this week, of course, against Leverkusen, and we have plenty more important matches to go this year, so I’m hoping I can even improve from the first half of the season, I always try to get better.

“I’m at Bayern Munich, who have won the league for the last 11 years, so there’s an expectation to win that league this year.

“Of course, Leverkusen has started amazingly well and is still undefeated, so it’s a really important game this weekend that I’m excited for.”

Leverkusen heads into the game after a 30-game unbeaten run in all competitions, while Bayern has won 12 of their last 14 Bundesliga games, losing two games during that streak.

“I think Bayern will come good because they can still play better and they have Harry Kane, and I think that combination will prove too much,” Honigstein added.

“But of course, if Leverkusen uses their momentum and beats Bayern on Saturday, then all the drama and stories that will come out of Munich after that game, then they have a chance.”

La Liga is usually a battle between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but this season Girona has entered the fray.

Despite only playing in their fourth top-flight campaign, Girona has disrupted the traditional order and has shown no signs of falling away.

They have lost just one game out of 23 in La Liga, with their all-out attacking approach paying dividends. They have scored 52 goals this season – more than any other team in the league.

However, their only defeat came against Real Madrid, underlining the magnitude of the task that awaits them when they travel to the capital.

“It’s amazing what has happened,” said Spanish football expert Guillem Balague on the BBC Football Daily Euro Leagues podcast.

“Real are favorites on Saturday, and a victory for them could kill the league.

“But for Girona, the target is really the Champions League. So whatever happens to Girona, it will never be considered a failure, even if they don’t win the league.z z z z z z z z

“Do they have a chance? Of course, they have a chance. They have some key players missing, but it’s an unexpected story and one we’re having a lot of fun with.”

Real Madrid, of course, has English midfielder Jude Bellingham in their ranks, but they go into this game with a defensive headache – not ideal against La Liga’s top scorers.

Nacho is likely to miss out with a muscle issue, while Antonio Rudiger has a knee injury. David Alaba and Eder Militao are also still sidelined.

Despite that, Real boss Ancelotti is unconcerned and sees Saturday’s game as a chance to lay down a significant marker in the title race.

“We are leaders, and we have another chance to make a statement win,” Ancelotti said.