The two match audition is over. Carlo Ancelotti will officially become a Bundesliga manager on Friday when his Bayern Munich take on Werder Bremen in the first game of the new season.
He has not had much to work with over the summer. Players were taking their vacations after playing in the Euros. A few are still recovering from injuries they picked up in July and August. Ancelotti has still prepared his team for action after winning the DFL-Supercup and the first round of the German Cup.
Now Ancelotti will stand on the touchline for his first Bundesliga campaign. “Of course we are the favorites,” he said in his press conference on Friday. “I told my players that we have to get the title this year too. That way no one will say only with Ancelotti did Bayern not win a title.”
His first challenge is a rather pedestrian one. Werder Bremen sprung out of the relegation zone on the last day of the season in 2015-16. Their defense is completely rebuilt after the departures of Jannik Vestergaard and Alejandro Galvez, adding Fallou Diagne, Nicholas Moisander and Lamine Sane. Even one of their new defenders talks a big game, they will have to play a big game to prevent a similar result to the last Bundesliga game they played in Munich – a 5-0 loss.
Bayern’s midfield will be restocked for the game. Thiago is expected to return after missing last week’s German Cup match, and Ancelotti announced that Renato Sanches will appear on the bench after missing most of the preseason with a thigh injury. With a fitter squad, Bayern will be the clear favorites, but Ancelotti managed expectations.
“I am not a wizard. I don’t know what the result will be,” Ancelotti said. “But I assure you that we will do everything to be ready and will do everything we can to win.”
Prediction: 4-0 Bayern win. Last season, Bayern ran over Hamburg 5-0 in Douglas Costa’s coming out party. Hamburg were surely not in the best place at the time, but this Bremen team is in more disarray. Bremen fans will likely be watching the game on their television hoping that their goal difference isn’t too negative so early in the season.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions: Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng (thigh), Kingsley Coman (ankle), Douglas Costa (thigh), Arjen Robben (groin)
Werder Bremen injuries and suspensions: Philipp Bargfrede (knee), Justin Eilers (hip), Santiago Garcia (toe), Max Kruse (knee), Claudio Pizarro (muscle injury), Michael Zetterer (hand)
Television and Streaming:
US: Fox Sports 1, Gol TV, Gol TV Español, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2Go
Canada: Sportsnet World, Sportsnet World Now
UK: BT Sport 3, BT Sport Live Streaming
Germany: ARD Das Erste, Sky Bundesliga 1, Sky Go, Sportschau Live Streaming, TeleClub Sport Live