Alright, after a particularly long off-season with no World Cup or Euros to distract everyone, Bayern Munich return to action against Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park. People like to say that the DFL Supercup is a meaningless preseason trophy, but usually that’s only when Bayern win it.
Even though both teams have been through relatively little preparation for the game, Niko Kovac will be expected to win the trophy and bring it back to Munich. While he won’t be fired for losing the Supercup, it would be a rather inauspicious way to start the new season.
According to Kovac, Bayern have most of their main personnel available for the game. Kingsley Coman, who picked up a knock against Tottenham Hotspur in the Audi Cup, has resumed training and should be fit to feature. Lucas Hernandez has been progressing well on his recovery, but won’t make it back to team training before the training camp at Tegernsee begins on Tuesday. Needless to say, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for his debut.
Serge Gnabry is reportedly feeling okay, but will not be risked. Javi Martinez is suffering from knee problems, also ruling him out. That’s about it (as far as we know) for Bayern’s injury list. So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at how Bayern might line up tomorrow:
As you can see above, Robert Lewandowski reprises his role as striker. No surprises there. behind him, we put Renato Sanches, who has had a great preseason thus far. There’s a decent chance that Kovac could opt to use Leon Goretzka there instead, with Corentin Tolisso playing slightly deeper as the second #8, but that setup has not yet been tried by the coach, and a Supercup game usually isn’t the time to experiment.
On the wings we have Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller. Most of us here would probably prefer it if Muller were shifted inside behind the striker, and Alphonso Davies were given a chance on the left wing. Coman is an experienced campaigner on the right, and could surely function there with little to no issues.
However, Kovac specifically mentioned Muller’s ability to play on the right in his press conference, so it seems he’s already decided that that’s where he’ll play. If not, it’s some clever misdirection and we commend him for that.
In midfield, Thiago Alcantara is guaranteed to play — no question of that. Leon Goretzka is expected to reprise his role next to the Spaniard, because it’s likely that Corentin Tolisso isn’t fully up to speed yet.
Finally, in defense — expect last year’s stalwarts to take their respective positions. David Alaba at left back, Niklas Sule in central defense, and Joshua Kimmich at right back. The question is who will pair with Sule — Benjamin Pavard or Jerome Boateng? Well, in the preseason so far, Kovac has preferred a first-choice pairing of Sule-Pavard (with Pavard on the left, replacing the departed Mats Hummels), so that’s what we assume he’ll go for.
Finally, at goalkeeper, we have Manuel Neuer. That’s about it really. Who else would play at goalkeeper?
Borussia Dortmund meanwhile have some injury issues. Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, Roman Burki, and Mateu Morey are all expected to miss the game, which could drastically affect Favre’s plans for the game. With all that taken into consideration, Kovac should still have the advantage and he will be expected to bring the trophy home. If not, expect Manchester City to add a few million more to Sane’s transfer fee.