Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: How Teams Will Line Up in German Super Cup
Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will begin the 2014-15 club football season where they left off in May, facing head-to-head on Wednesday in the DFL-Superpokal.
The Bundesliga's top-two clubs of the 2013-14 season met in the DFB-Pokal final on May 17, with Bayern winning 2-0 in a match that was much closer than the scoreline suggested. Mats Hummels had a header cleared after it had crossed the goal line, but a goal was not signaled. The match went to extra time, when Bayern's superior fitness wore down their opponents, goals from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller lifting them to their second consecutive domestic double.
Dortmund will look to avenge May's loss, while Bayern will be keen to reclaim the title after losing to BVB in last year's Superpokal. The match should be a good test of the form of both clubs as they enter the next season.
On the eve of Wednesday's match, B/R takes a look at the possible starting lineups for both teams. Click "Begin Slideshow" to see the forecast lineups, beginning with Dortmund and followed by Bayern.
Goalkeeper: Roman Weidenfeller
Roman Weidenfeller didn't play a minute of the preseason for Dortmund but can expect to start in the Superpokal. Mitch Langerak did a decent job between the posts, but the veteran Weidenfeller, who turned 34 last week, is a vice-captain of the club and his leadership will be needed against Bayern.
Right-Back: Lukasz Piszczek
Lukasz Piszczek and Kevin Grosskreutz duked it out for a starting role at right-back last season, both being approximately level at season's end. Since then, Grosskreutz has won a World Cup title. But he's short of match practice and hasn't really had a chance to put himself ahead of Piszczek, who is the more likely to start.
Center-Back: Neven Subotic
Neven Subotic missed the Liverpool game on Sunday but was training pain-free before the match and should be fit to feature in the Superpokal. There will be heavy competition between Subotic, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Matthias Ginter for the starting roles in central defense, but the longstanding starter and Serbia international should have a slight edge.
Center-Back: Sokratis Papastathopoulos
With Mats Hummels only recently having returned to training and still recovering from an injury sustained during the World Cup, BVB will have to start without their new captain. A mainstay in the team from last season, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is likely to be used from the start, the Greece international having a slight edge over the newcomer Ginter.
Left-Back: Marcel Schmelzer
One of the most hotly contested spots in the Dortmund lineup this season will likely be that of left-back. Marcel Schmelzer didn't exactly cover himself in glory against Liverpool on Sunday, but considering the fact that Erik Durm only recently returned to training and wasn't first choice last season, Schmelzer more likely than not will get another chance.
Defensive Midfield: Sven Bender
Dortmund were outmuscled in midfield when they played Liverpool on Sunday, at least until Sven Bender was introduced. The 25-year-old is exactly the kind of player BVB need in their high-intensity, pressing system. He'll be needed especially against a Bayern side that can pass opponents to sleep.
Defensive Midfield: Oliver Kirch
With Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan both out injured, Klopp will probably start with a second natural holding player. Oliver Kirch fits the bill. The 31-year-old is no spring chicken, but he seems to have an edge on Sebastian Kehl, who at the age of 34 has lost the captaincy and is in the process of being moved to more of a leadership role from the bench than an on-field presence.
Right Wing: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was used both on the wing and as a second striker during the preseason, and exactly how he's used will depend on how Klopp plans his tactics. With Bayern playing without strictly designated full-backs, BVB may be more likely to attack down the flanks, with Aubameyang the man to deliver pace from the right. The Gabon international was prolific in preseason and will be keen to translate his form on the big stage.
Attacking Midfield: Milos Jojic
Whether Klopp opts for a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation, Milos Jojic stands a good chance of starting in the Superpokal. The Serbian midfielder is a combative player who can work between the lines, exactly the type BVB need in the center of the park. It's possible that the in-form Jonas Hofmann could come into the team in his place, but Jojic perhaps offers a little more reliability as a ball-winner and that could be the difference.
Left Wing: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Like Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was brilliant during the preseason and despite increased competition for a starting role, he can expect to start. The Armenia international ended last season on a high note and seems to have picked up where he left off. Of course, all that matters is whether he can deliver when trophies are on the line. The Superpokal will be a big test for Mkhitaryan.
Center-Forward: Ciro Immobile
Dortmund's most expensive signing of the summer, Ciro Immobile outperformed Adrian Ramos in preseason and can expect to start. The Italian striker hit the ground running at Dortmund, combining well especially with Aubameyang in the attacking third. Ramos is yet to convince on the same level, so Immobile should get the nod in the center-forward position.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer played the last half hour of Bayern's loss to the MLS All-Stars, his first match following the World Cup. He's indisputably Bayern's No. 1 and, having been named German Footballer of the Year on Sunday, he'll carry an extra boost of confidence into the Superpokal. However, there's no guarantee that he and not Tom Starke will start; in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Guardiola made no indication of whether any of his contingent of World Cup semifinalists and finalists would play.
Center-Back: Jerome Boateng
Rafinha seemed to have nailed down a starting role as right-center-back, but on Sunday was ruled out of action for at least the next few weeks with an ankle injury. There are a few options that could come into the Bayern team in his stead, Jerome Boateng perhaps the most likely despite his lack of match practice in preseason.
Center-Back: Javi Martinez
Javi Martinez was a constant figure in the Bayern central defense throughout the preseason; he can expect to start against Dortmund. The 25-year-old has had his ups and downs when used as a defender, but appears to have Guardiola's confidence in any case.
Center-Back: David Alaba
Having had a full preseason to work his way into form and fitness, David Alaba is sure to start for Bayern. Exactly where is not entirely certain, but with the 22-year-old having been used at center-back in recent friendlies suggests he'll continue to line up in his newfound role.
Right-Midfield: Pierre Hojbjerg
He may be only 19 years of age, but having played the entire preseason, Pierre Hojbjerg will favor his odds of starting in the Superpokal. The young Dane has the potential to be a big star in the coming years and will see Wednesday's match as a good opportunity to make an appeal for more minutes in the coming weeks and months.
Center Midfield: Philipp Lahm
As with Neuer and Boateng, Philipp Lahm's participation is a matchday decision for Guardiola, who was mum about any details of his starting lineup when asked in Tuesday's press conference. The 30-year-old is seen by his coach as a midfielder and if he starts, more likely than not will play in a holding role.
Center Midfield: Mario Gotze
The second central-midfield position is completely up for grabs. Thiago Alcantara is out injured and despite playing well in preseason, Gianluca Gaudino is still only 17 years of age. Bastian Schweinsteiger also has been widely reported to be not Guardiola's favorite player, with SportBild (h/t @Lupin5) claiming that Mario Gotze is the trainer's preferred starter ahead of the vice-captain in midfield. But for Wednesday it all depends on who is feeling healthy and ready.
Left Midfield: Juan Bernat
If Alaba is not used in his place, and the Austrian wasn't during the preseason at least, Juan Bernat can expect to line up on the left of midfield. The Spanish left-sided all-rounder was hand-chosen by Guardiola and was a regular feature during the preseason.
Right Forward: Thomas Muller
Gotze, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri and Thomas Muller are all candidates for the right wing, but if Gotze is used in midfield and Robben on the left, Muller will most likely start on the right wing. The 24-year-old is riding a high after his phenomenal World Cup campaign; he scored the killer goal to put Dortmund's DFB-Pokal final hopes to rest in May, so he should be the one to watch.
Center-Forward: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski was Bayern's best player of the preseason by a country mile, scoring an average of a goal per game and many with wonder-strikes. The Poland international will face his former club for the first time on Wednesday, and it will be an emotional return. But Lewandowski is a man of cool nerves and exquisite skill; he could well be the difference-maker.
Left Forward: Arjen Robben
With Franck Ribery out injured, Guardiola will have to find a way to cope with the absence of his inspirational playmaker. Any of a number of aforementioned players in this squad could play on the left wing, but it may well be Arjen Robben who deputizes in that role, depending on Guardiola's tactical application of Gotze.