Bayern Munich will continue their hunt for silverware as they battle Sevilla for the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday.
Following a sensational treble-winning campaign last season, Bayern Munich are the team to beat right now, having enjoyed tremendous success under the leadership of Hansi Flick this year. They even kickstarted their 2020/21 campaign with an emphatic 8-0 victory over rivals FC Schalke in the Bundesliga.
On Thursday, the Bavarians will be looking to maintain a similar run of form as Flick looks to register his first trophy of the new season in the form of the UEFA Super Cup. The German mastermind does have a slight issue with a lack of depth in his team, however, with Thiago Alcantara leaving while Alvaro Odriozola, Ivan Perisic, and Philippe Coutinho have all returned to their parent clubs.
Sevilla, on the other hand, have greatly improved their squad, especially with the acquisition of experienced Barcelona midfielder and ex-player Ivan Rakitic. The Spanish giants have also done well to keep hold of their star players, especially after their triumph in the UEFA Europa League last term.
Unfortunately, Sevilla haven’t had much game-time, with their MD1 La Liga match-up against Atletico Madrid getting postponed, meaning a 3-2 win over Inter Milan in the Europa League final still remains their last match in competitive football. So, facing European champions Bayern Munich at Puskas Arena will certainly be a challenge this midweek.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this enticing match-up in the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday.
Tactics & Team News
Javi Martinez has traveled with the team to Budapest despite being linked with a move away from Bavaria this summer. Kingsley Coman and Tanguay Nianzuo, meanwhile, have stayed back due to injuries and lack of fitness.
Flick has also called up a bunch of exciting talents, including Timothy Tillman, Adrian Fein, and Jamal Musiala. Yet, we don’t expect him to make too many changes despite having a crucial encounter TSG Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) September 23, 2020
It essentially means that the likes of Manuel Neuer, Niklas Sule, and Jerome Boateng are all set to retain their place in the starting lineup. Sergino Dest has been strongly linked with a move to Bavaria. But, until he arrives, Benjamin Pavard will continue to start at right-back while Alphonso Davies might finally return to the side after missing the last game due to lack of match fitness.
Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich are surefire starters in midfield, with Corentin Tolisso and Mickael Cuisance providing Flick with additional options in the middle of the park. One of them is surely expected to feature as a second-half substitute.
In attack, Flick has very few established options in the wider attacking positions. Only two, in fact, with Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry most likely to retain their place in the starting lineup. However, none of them are expected to complete the full ninety minutes, and that is where youngsters like Musiala and Joshua Zirkzee could come in handy.
Thomas Muller is another player set to continue in his customary number ten role, with Robert Lewandowski spearheading the Bayern Munich attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Boateng, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Lewandowski
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has no real injury-related absentees to deal with, and his squad will be fresh due to relatively longer preparation time. This is, in fact, their first game of the 2020/21 campaign, though it shouldn’t deter the Spaniards from deploying a strong eleven.
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) September 22, 2020
Lopetegui is likely to employ a 4-3-3 setup with club captain Jesus Navas operating at right-back. It will be interesting to see how the ex-Man City man deals with another ex-Man City player in Sane.
Even the left-back, Sergio Escudero, looking to replace Sergio Reguilon, could be in for a tricky evening as he will face the threat of the in-form Gnabry, while the central defensive pairing of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos will be in charge of keeping the mercurial Robert Lewandowski at bay.
In midfield, Rakitic is tipped to make his second debut for Sevilla, having rejoined the club from FC Barcelona earlier this summer. He is likely to partner another experienced star in Fernando Reges while Joao Jordan is expected to provide further support.
In attack, Luuk de Jong is guaranteed to lead the line ahead of Youssef En-Nesyri. The Dutchman scored the vital two goals in the final against Inter Milan, and his experience at the highest level of football makes him a more useful outlet in attack, despite a rusty start to his La Liga career.
De Jong is set to be supported by the creative wide duo of Suso and Lucas Ocampos, although Lopetegui does have other options, including Munir El Haddadi as well as new signing Oscar Rodriguez.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bono; Navas, Carlos, Kounde, Escudero; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Suso, de Jong, Ocampos
- In six out of the last seven Super Cup clashes, the Champions League winners have beaten the Europa League holders. Since the inception of the Europa League in 2009, only Atletico Madrid, as the supposed underdogs, have triumphed over the champions of Europe.
- As many as six FC Bayern players – Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Jérôme Boateng, David Alaba, and Javi Martínez – will have the chance to lift the UEFA Super Cup for the second time on Thursday.
- The record Bundesliga champions won the Super Cup for the first time in 2013 by beating Chelsea on penalties after the contest finished 2-2 after extra-time.
- Sevilla lost their only previous meeting with Bayern in the 2017/18 Champions League quarter-finals, 2-1 on aggregate.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored 16 goals in 15 competitive matches this calendar year, including five in six European fixtures.
Player to Watch
Ivan Rakitic is arguably the most important player for Sevilla, heading into this game for multiple reasons.
The Croatian international has the experience that could be useful when facing a team like Bayern Munich. In fact, he had made 97 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke between July 2007 and January 2011, producing 12 goals and 23 assists. He has lost seven of his ten previous encounters against Bayern.
From a tactical perspective, the ex-Barcelona superstar could serve as the ideal ball-carrier in the final third, with players like Jordan and Fernando supporting him and taking care of the more defensive tasks. Not to mention, he has a vicious right foot, which is capable of testing Neuer from long-range.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Sevilla
Bayern Munich are the undisputed favorites heading into this game. The Bavarians have the quality, and more importantly, they have been acting as a coherent unit under Hansi Flick. So, we do expect the German giants to once again dominate their opposition, and a comfortable 3-0 victory could be on the horizon this midweek.