presented by
First trophy at stake

Bayern fired up for Supercup showdown

There are two weeks to go until the new Bundesliga season but the first official trophy of term is already up for grabs: on Saturday (live on ZDF and Sky Germany from 20.30 CET) champions FC Bayern travel to face DFB Cup winners and league runners-up VfL Wolfsburg for the German Supercup. “I consider it an important title and Wolfsburg are tough opponents,” commented Pep Guardiola on the eve of the showdown with the Wolves. “I want to win this title tomorrow.”

Guardiola has yet to lay hands on the Supercup as his men were beaten in the last two editions of the fixture, making this year’s encounter even more important to FCB. “I’m expecting a good final for the fans, viewers and the media,” the coach said. “We’re fired up and taking the game totally seriously,” advised Manuel Neuer, “it’s a final so you want to win it.”

All the club’s fit first-team players have made the trip to Lower Saxony, including Arjen Robben, who could make a first appearance of preseason after recovering from a sprain. “Arjen is healthy and fit,” Guardiola confirmed. The only men definitely absent are injury victims Javi Martínez, Dante, Franck Ribéry, Holger Badstuber and Jan Kirchhoff.

Vidal on board

New arrival Arturo Vidal duly took a seat on the team bus. The Chile star only returned from vacation two days ago, so Guardiola could not say whether the marquee signing would make his Munich debut on Saturday. The 28-year-old would normally not be match fit, “because he lost a lot of time due to the Copa America,” the coach pointed out. However, Guardiola continued, “he’ll always be good for the team due to his quality, experience and character. I’m very happy he’s here.”

The Wolves have a handful of injury concerns to key men. Newly-crowned German Footballer of the Year Kevin de Bruyne (back), Ivan Perisic, Aaron Hunt and Bas Dost are all rated doubtful. VfL boss Dieter Hecking has already ruled out former Bayern man Luiz Gustavo as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. “I hope Kevin de Bruyne can play tomorrow,” Guardiola stated, “I want to see the best players so we can make a comparison.”

The home team will undoubtedly be highly motivated and buoyed by their 4-1 win when the sides last met at the VW Arena in January. “We’ll give it 100 percent and show we’re right up for it,” Brazilian defender Naldo declared. VfL managing director Klaus Allofs was in confident mood: “We lack this trophy at present. It would be nice to keep filling up our cabinet.” Exactly 70 days after their most recent competitive fixture, Bayern know they face a thorny task on Saturday evening.