The first trophy of the season is up for grabs on Saturday. As DFB-Pokal winners, we’ll take on Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich at the Red Bull Arena at 20:30 CEST. With top quality players lining up on each side of the pitch, we take a look at the key players for each team.
Each team has a long-serving goalkeeper between their posts. With Peter Gulácsi and Manuel Neuer in goal, it’s no surprise that RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich respectively were the two sides with the lowest number of goals conceded in the league last season (each 37). While Gulácsi kept nine clean sheets, Neuer had 10 shutouts in the league last season. The two goalkeepers are leaders for their club and country, so goals may be hard to come by in the Supercup this weekend…
Domenico Tedesco has shown a preference for a back three since taking charge. Willi Orbán is often at the centre of it and the 29-year-old is heading into his eighth season with the club. Leipzig’s fourth-highest appearance maker (238 games), Orbán exudes the qualities of a traditional centre back, strong in duels and impressive positioning, but is also an important part of his team’s build-up play. Orbán’s 91.61% of passes completed in the league last season ranked him in the top five of all players. He’ll likely play alongside Mohamed Simakan and Marcel Halstenberg on Saturday evening, with Joško Gvardiol expected to miss out through injury.
Bayern’s defensive system is a little harder to predict, but they may well begin the game with a back three. New signing Matthijs de Ligt could make his debut. The 22-year-old joined from Juventus this summer and Bayern will hope that the Netherlands international can lead the defence. He may be partnered by Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, while former RBL man Dayot Upamecano is also a candidate for the starting XI.
In central midfield, there is experience in the ranks of both teams. Kevin Kampl has been RB Leipzig’s Mr. Reliable for years. Off the ball he works extremely hard, consistently covers a lot of distance and has an accurate passing game. The midfielder signed a contract extension until 2024 in May. Meanwhile, Joshua Kimmich is equally as important for Bayern. The Germany international is a true fighter and is determined to win. Not only is he impressive in duels and a strong defender, Kimmich can also impact his side’s attacking play.
The two sides are expected to use wingers who can contribute to both attack and defence. RB Leipzig’s wing backs are Benjamin Henrichs and Angeliño, who can provide danger from crosses. Bayern could use Alphonso Davies and new signing Noussair Mazraoui, who consistently demonstrated his attacking qualities at former club Ajax.
While both RB Leipzig and Bayern have a range of top attackers, there is one player who catches the eye on each side. In Domenico Tedesco’s team, that player is Christopher Nkunku. The French forward amassed an incredible 52 goal involvements (32 goals, 20 assists) in 51 competitive games last season. Christo followed up his record-breaking season with a contract extension this summer. FC Bayern have made a statement in the transfer market this season and another name through the door is superstar Sadio Mané. The two-time African Footballer of the Year joins after a highly-successful spell with Liverpool and will look to hit the ground running in the first competitive game for his new club.
Behind and alongside these two players, Tedesco and Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann have a number of options. Leipzig may use Dominik Szoboszlai, Dani Olmo or Emil Forsberg behind a front two of Nkunku and André Silva. Meanwhile, the departure of Robert Lewandowski could see Bayern change their approach. Mané could partner Serge Gnabry in a front two, but Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman and Jamal Musiala are all options. Behind the attack, the brilliant Thomas Müller will likely be involved, looking to create danger with his unique style of play.