Injured, seeking revenge, and their coach’s future in doubt, Bayern Munich seek their first German Super Cup in five years in Saturday’s road matchup with VfL Wolfsburg at Volkswagen Arena . The reigning and three-time Bundesliga champs will miss several key contributors as they try to avenge their 4-1 loss in their last meeting with the Wolves in January.
Manager Pep Guardiola’s contract situation hangs over the squad in perhaps the biggest distraction facing the club. The Spaniard enters his third season with Munich on the last year of his contract, but told the Associated Press there’s “still time” to reach an agreement while firmly shouting down any speculation over an exit.
''I have not received any offer from any other club in the world,'' Guardiola said. ''I have done my best, I am doing my best, and I will do my best.''
Munich want to keep Guardiola, but he said the team isn’t “happy” with his indecisiveness. It’s no coincidence the former Barcelona manager’s arrival signaled a new dominance on both the domestic and international stage, with Munich claiming Bundesliga by 10 or more points the last three years with one Champions League title and reaching the final and semifinals two other times.
But Guardiola is focused on the Super Cup, and will have to tinker with his lineup now that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger’s moved on to Manchester United and with injuries to stars like Franck Ribery and defenders Holger Badstuber, Javi Martinez, Jan Jirchhocc, and Dante.
It’s possible Arjen Robben makes his return from a muscle injury, but Munich supporters are more eagerly awaiting the debut of newest acquisition and midfielder Arturo Vidal. The Chilean, signed from Juventus, participated in his first training session with his new squad on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old totaled 35 goals over 124 appearances with Juve since 2011. Vidal is expected to pad Munich’s lineup and provide assurances if Ribery or Robben miss a significant amount of time like they did last season.
Wolfsburg, who finished second in Bundesliga last season and lit up Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the DFB-Pokal final, are a dangerous side that’s fully capable of spoiling Munich’s start of the season. The Wolves seek their first Super Cup title, and have the top personnel in Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne to do it.
Dost netted 16 goals last season and though he’s dealt with transfer speculation throughout the summer, the Dutchman desires a stay with Wolfsburg.
"I believe that I will stay," Dost said to Kicker.de.
However, according to ESPN FC, he will have to battle new arrival Max Kruse for a starting nod.
De Bruyne has been heavily linked to Manchester City, Manchester United, and Paris Saint-Germain this summer with a potential price tag of £60 million after posting 16 goals and 27 assists across all competitions last season.
But the 24-year-old’s status against Munich remains in doubt due to a back injury.
"It is not yet clear whether he can play Saturday," manager Dieter Hecking said to Bild. "With the way he has just moved, it makes little sense."
Prediction: Expect Bayern to attack and attack often in their first test of the season. Wolfsburg can provide a defensive test for the Bundesliga titans, but it will likely fall short with Pep Guardiola's side intent on getting the season off on the right track.
Predicted score: Bayern Munich over Wolfsburg, 2-1
Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes
Live Online: FoxSoccer2Go