On Saturday 30th July (20:30 CEST), the winners of the DFB-Pokal, RB Leipzig, and the winners of the Bundesliga, FC Bayern Munich, will go head-to-head in the Supercup at the Red Bull Arena. Here we analyse our opponents ahead of this mouthwatering clash.
FC Bayern have contested just two friendlies this pre-season, with both taking place on their tour of the USA. They thrashed MLS side DC United (6-2) and were narrowly defeated by the Premier League champions, Manchester City (0-1). Their defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side showed that there is room for improvement both in defence and in attack. FC Bayern will be looking to find their feet again after the transfer window, in which they made some big signings but also lost some key players. This could prove to be an advantage for the Red Bulls in the Supercup.
FCB lost two huge names in the transfer window this summer. Goal-machine Robert Lewandowski, who was both the Bundesliga and FIFA Men’s Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021, made the move to Barcelona and Niklas Süle, who was a rock at the back for Bayern last season, switched to Borussia Dortmund.
However, Bayern have also made some important signings this summer. Forward Sadio Mané and central-defender Matthijs de Ligt, who signed from Liverpool and Juventus respectively, are two of the biggest names in European football. The Bavarians also strengthened their squad by signing midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and right-back Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax, as well as young talent Mathys Tel from Stade Rennais.
FCB will want to build a new spine that runs through the team. It starts in goal with Manuel Neuer, who is still playing to his strengths at 36 years of age. Matthijs de Ligt, the new rock at the back, is likely to be in front of the Germany number one. In central-midfield is Joshua Kimmich, whose quality and will to win make him a central figure in the team. In terms of the attacking midfielders, it’s hard to look past Thomas Müller. The 32-year-old, who has spent his entire career at FC Bayern, has even managed to improve his performances as he has got older. Up top is Sadio Mané, who has the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of Robert Lewandowski. However, the African Footballer of the Year should be up to the challenge.
The German champions will have to do without Leon Goretska for the Supercup and for the start of the Bundesliga season. The 27-year-old usually forms a solid partnership with fellow number 6, Joshua Kimmich. Goretzka will miss the first few weeks of the season to undergo a knee operation.
The expectations on Julian Nagelsmann, who is entering his second season as FC Bayern boss, are ramping up a notch. The former Leipzig coach led FCB to their tenth Bundesliga title in succession in his first season as head coach. However, Bayern’s shock defeat to Villarreal in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, as well as their 5-0 drubbing against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal, made it a mixed season for Nagelsmann.
Despite Lewandowski’s departure, Nagelsmann still has a strong squad to choose from and will continue to work on diversifying his side’s way of playing. He can utilise a system with four at the back or a system with three at the back. Without a recognised number 9, Nagelsmann could deploy a forward duo comprising of two quick players, such as Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry.
There is certainly room for improvement in our head-to-head record with FC Bayern. The Red Bulls have won just one of the 14 matches against the German record champions. FCB have won nine and four have been draws. There must be a winner on Saturday and it will go to penalties if it is level after 90 minutes. There is no period of extra time in the Supercup.
The last five matches
- 5th February 2022 | Bundesliga, Matchday 21: FC Bayern Vs. RB Leipzig 3-2
- 11th September 2021 | Bundesliga, Matchday 4: RB Leipzig Vs. FC Bayern 1-4
- 3rd April 2021 | Bundesliga, Matchday 27: RB Leipzig Vs. FC Bayern 0-1
- 5th Dezember 2020 | Bundesliga, Matchday 10: FC Bayern Vs. RB Leipzig 3-3
- 9th February 2020 | Bundesliga, Matchday 21: FC Bayern Vs. RB Leipzig 0-0