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DFL Supercup preview

Guardiola: It's a final, not a friendly

The first competitive match of the new season could hardly come with more prestige attached as the winners of the domestic double and the 2013 Champions League take on the Bundesliga runners-up and cup finalists, and the team they overcame at Wembley. Everyone is looking forward to this year's edition of the DFL Supercup when Bayern visit Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening. The action starts at 6 pm CET.

“It's a final in front of a full house. It's what you look forward to as a player,”  said Manuel Neuer, “we're up against our biggest rivals in Germany. We'll be taking the first competitive match very seriously and we’re determined to win.” Jérôme Boateng is looking forward to meeting up with a number of fellow World Cup winners, but knows that national team camaraderie does not apply on the night: “We're opponents on Wednesday. We have to set aside our friendships for 90 minutes.”

Pep Guardiola is just as hungry for success. “We’re playing for the first title of the season, so we'll try and win it,” said the head coach on Tuesday, although he declined to reveal details of his squad for the trip to the Ruhr Valley. Rafinha (ankle ligaments), Franck Ribéry (knee) and Pepe Reina, who has only trained at his new club for two days, are definitely out. Bastian Schweinsteiger is highly unlikely to feature even though his injury is only minor.

Alaba: We’ll do better than last year

Guardiola will instead start with the players who have spent the longest time in pre-season training, including Robert Lewandowski on an early return to his former stamping ground. “We only have eight or nine fit players, but that's normal,” commented the Spaniard. Compared to a conventional friendly, only three substitutes are allowed in Wednesday's match so the option of sending out half-fit players is not available. Philipp Lahm and the other World Cup winners “still need time, but that's normal too,” Guardiola stated, ruling out the idea of experimenting in Dortmund: “It's a final, not a friendly.”

The Bayern camp has less than fond memories of last year's Supercup encounter, as Guardiola’s first serious match in charge ended in a 4-2 defeat. “But we know our opponents better now,” said the Spaniard. The coach has tremendous respect for BVB: “They've had the same coach for six years with Jürgen Klopp, they're fantastic on the break, and they have a very good structure. We know how difficult it will be, but we want the trophy.”

If the prestige title does end up in Munich, it would be Bayern's fifth victory after previous triumphs in 1987, 1990, 2010 and 2012, and would take FCB ahead of Dortmund, also four-time winners. David Alaba dismissed the possibility of a defeat similar to last year's: “We intend to do better this time.”