The curtain-raiser to the German domestic season will take place on 12 August at the Allianz Arena.
This match is meant to be contested between the winner of the Bundesliga and the DfB Pokal. In the absence of a different winner for either competition, the runner-up in the Bundesliga takes up their spot. The competition is referred to as the German Supercup.
Until 2008, another preseason competition took place called the Ligapokal.
Thanks to Euro 2008, the schedule for the upcoming season couldn’t be decided and the Supercup was ‘unofficially’ introduced. In its very first official match, Bayern pushed Schalke aside to win 2-0. The holders are Schalke; they beat Dortmund on penalties thanks to Ralf Fahrmann last season.
Both teams recently took part in the Liga Total! Cup. The eerie similarity in their results might just be a clue to how close this match might turn out to be.
Both sides beat HSV 1-0. Both drew with Bremen and lost to Werder on penalties. Unfortunately, the length of the injury list is much longer for one than the other—Bayern, David Alaba, Rafinha, Diego Contento and Mario Gomez are definitely out.
Gomez had a successful surgery and expressed his desire to return to action quickly. With Claudio Pizarro dealing with problems of his own, Mario Mandzukic knows he must take this chance to prove his worth because he won’t get another one of this magnitude. Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful for this one. Pizarro has been included in the squad to face Dortmund nonetheless.
Bayern last year fielded a reserve side against Barcelona the day after fielding a full-strength side against AC Milan in preseason. The possibility of fielding a reserve side remains although the hierarchy thinks differently. According to Uli Hoeness, this trophy is a priority. Matthias Sammer wants a win to start off the campaign as well.
In the past seven meetings between these two sides, Dortmund has won five while the other two has been drawn. It is about time Bayern returns to doing what they did between 2008 and 2010—bully Dortmund. Nobody in Bayern will want to be left in the wake of another brilliant Dortmund side for the third season in a row.
The playing style of either side hasn’t changed. Bayern still fails to defend on set-pieces. They need to learn how to utilize set-piece opportunities, especially corners. Xherdan Shaqiri can take free-kicks superbly though. Bayern, of course, is still highly susceptible to fast counter-attacks.
Both sides will have to present more to the world but for different reasons this season. Bayern will have to prove that they are champions rather than bridesmaids while Dortmund will have to prove that they can cope with European competition alongside domestic competitions.
All eyes will be on Marco Reus to see what the German Player of the Year can produce on the biggest of all stages in Europe, the Champions League.
As far as the lineup is concerned, this is my best guess:
Philipp Lahm—Holger Badstuber—Jerome Boateng—Luiz Gustavo
Emre Can—Toni Kroos
Arjen Robben—Xherdan Shaqiri—Thomas Mueller
On another day, I would have placed Franck Ribery in there, but Ribery apparently isn’t fully fit. In terms of what to expect, expect Boateng to have a hair-raising moment or combine with Neuer to produce one.
Gustavo will draw at least one foul in a dangerous area—it is in his nature to do so and he was brought in for exactly that. But he could do with a lesson or two from Mark Van Bommel on how to get away with those fouls.
Mandzukic’s tendency to disappear in matches scares me. He is brilliant with the ball at his feet and his movement is intelligent, but sometimes he is just not present. Expect plenty of scary moments on counter-attacks and of course on set-pieces awarded to Dortmund.
If I had to pick a winner at this point, it would be Dortmund. We all have to learn our lessons after five-straight defeats after all, don’t we?
Prediction: Bayern 1-3 Dortmund.
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