After what feels like forever, Germany’s biggest teams are finally back in competitive action this weekend.
The lower divisions in Germany have already got their seasons underway, but there’s still two weeks to go until the 2019-20 Bundesliga kicks off. However, there will be plenty of football before then with the DFL Supercup on Saturday, followed by the DFB-Pokal first round a week later.
Bayern Munich won the domestic double last season, therefore Borussia Dortmund qualify for the Supercup as the league’s runners-up and will be looking for revenge against their rivals after letting the Bundesliga title slip from their grasp late in the season.
Dortmund have had a busy summer, most notably bringing in Mats Hummels from Bayern. His involvement is sure to be a major talking point for the winner takes all event at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday. Hummels remains one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga and will bring valuable experience to Dortmund’s backline, which was regularly ravaged by injuries last season.
BVB have also brought in Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, and Nico Schulz, but Brandt will have to wait to make his competitive debut for his new club after picking up a pre-season injury. Dan-Axel Zagadou is a doubt for the clash but was unlikely to start anyway with Lucien Favre likely to prefer a Manuel Akanji-Mats Hummels pairing for the Supercup clash and throughout the season.
Bayern have much bigger injury concerns – and a smaller squad, having been quieter in the transfer market. Kingsley Coman picked up yet another injury – going off with a knee problem against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday – while Serge Gnabry is still struggling. That leaves Alphonso Davies as the only fully fit winger to face Dortmund, with Thomas Muller likely to line up on the opposite side.
Coach Niko Kovac has to choose what back four he will play following the additions of Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard. Niklas Sule is guaranteed a spot at centre-back, but Pavard should at least get the nod this weekend due to Hernandez’s lack of match fitness.
New arrivals Jan-Fiete Arp and Sarpreet Singh are unlikely to start but may find themselves on the bench following impressive pre-season showings. Arp scored his first Bayern goal in the game against Spurs, while Davies was also on target, pleasing Kovac.
“They did well and that must give them a boost. The team are in very good shape at the moment and we’ve got time before the start of the Bundesliga for fine-tuning,” said Kovac.
Favre had a sensational first season in Dortmund but yet picked up no trophies despite his best efforts. The German Supercup isn’t a major trophy, but lifting it would lay down a marker for the rest of the Bundesliga and show Bayern Munich that Borussia Dortmund are not happy to be runners-up for another season.