By Ben Sully
Bayern Munich will return to competitive action with a DFL-Supercup encounter against Julian Nagelsmann’s former side RB Leipzig.
The Bavarians are looking to lift the trophy for the third consecutive season, while Leipzig will be hoping to win the Supercup for the first time in their history.
After a summer that has seen several outgoings and a couple of new arrivals, Leipzig may feel they are heading into the unknown this season. A number of players have left, including Tyler Adams, Nordi Mukiele and Brian Bobbey, while Janis Blaswich and Xaver Schlager have arrived at the club.
As well as looking to secure silverware following a number of changes to their squad, a Supercup encounter against Bayern will provide Domenico Tedesco will a good idea about his side’s quality.
Die Roten Bullen earned their way into the Supercup by winning their first-ever major trophy in May. They managed to get the better of Freiburg on penalties to lift the DFB-Pokal, capping off a memorable season.
The 2021-22 campaign started poorly, which resulted in Jesse Marsch’s sacking as head coach, with Tedesco picked to be the American’s replacement. It transpired to be a fine appointment as Leipzig went on to secure a top four spot, while they also reached the Europa League semi-finals and won the DFB-Pokal.
Tedesco now has the chance to begin his first full season in charge of Die Roten Bullen with another trophy in Leipzig’s first Supercup appearance.
Preparations for the contest could have been better after a 3-1 friendly win over Southampton was followed by a heavy 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, which included four second-half goals from Darwin Nunez.
After facing one of the best sides in Europe, Leipzig will turn their attention to another elite team on Saturday.
Having failed to beat Bayern in their last nine meetings, taking the contest to extra-time and penalties may be Leipzig’s best hope of securing their first Supercup trophy.
There will be no Angeliño who is set to join Hoffenheim, while David Raum will be going the other way, although the latter will not sign in time for the Supercup. Schlager will be looking to make his competitive debut for Leipzig, although he may have to settle for a place on the bench. Joško Gvardiol and Yussuf Poulsen are both expected to miss through injury.
Nagelsmann will be determined to begin his second season in charge of Bayern in a similar manner to his first campaign. The former Leipzig boss began last term with a Supercup victory, and he will attempt to guide his side to victory once again on Saturday.
Bayern are aiming for more trophies this term after experiencing mixed fortunes in the 2021-22 season. The Bavarians ended the campaign with their 10th consecutive Bundesliga title and a Supercup trophy, but they underperformed in the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.
Last season may have been eventful, but the summer months have produced even more drama. Bayern are without one of their greatest ever goalscorers after Robert Lewandowski departed German shores to join Barcelona, although there have also been a number of prominent additions to the squad.
Sadio Mane has arrived from Liverpool, while the defence has been strengthened by the addition of Matthijs de Ligt. Mathys Tel, Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui have also signed for the club this summer.
While Nagelsmann will hope his new recruits can come together to win multiple trophies, in the short term, the Bayern head coach will be focused on Saturday’s Supercup.
The Bavarians lifted the trophy in both of the last two seasons and a win on Saturday would give them their 10th Supercup title.
Mane is expected to start for Bayern, while Nagelsmann could also give competitive debuts to De Ligt, Gravenberch and Mazraoui. Although the Bavarians will be unable to call upon Leon Goretzka due to a knee problem, while a lack of match fitness is set to rule Bouna Sarr out of the contest.