Cologne – On 1 August, DFB Cup winners VfL Wolfsburg face up to Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München at the Volkswagen Arena for the 2015 Supercup. Bayern will be regarded by many as the favourites, and bundesliga.com has five reasons why the trophy will be joining them on their trip back to Munich.
In spite of the 4-1 humbling at the start of the second half of last season, Bayern are a side who tend to strike fear into Wolfsburg. Indeed, the Wolves have won only two of their last 17 games against Bayern in the Bundesliga, suffering more defeats (27) and conceding more goals (78) against the boys from Bavaria than against any other opponent. Even the ten wins Bayern have chalked up in Wolfsburg is a league high. Bayern's 6-1 win in March 2014 is Wolfsburg's biggest defeat in their Bundesliga history.
When it comes to combination play, Bayern are unrivalled. Most of the goals they scored last season came from converted passes (57 out of 80). Even against extremely defensive opponents, Bayern managed to find a way in front of goal. If they had to, they would even have a go from distance, and they were pretty lethal from there too with 16 long-range goals, which includes five direct free-kicks – again, top marks in the league. The Wolves only scored eight times from outside the box, by comparison.
3. Impenetrable bastions
Bayern's defence in the first half of last season was the strongest in Bundesliga history, conceding just four goals in 17 games while letting in fewer shots than ever before. While they did concede three times as many goals in the second half of the season (14), they still had one of the best defensive records ever: no team had ever kept as many clean sheets in a season as Bayern's 22.
4. A new 'Titan'
Oliver Kahn was nicknamed the 'Titan' for his heroic efforts in keeping opponents at bay and Manuel Neuer is already moving into that same category. He stopped almost everything, keeping a clean sheet in 20 of his 32 Bundesliga appearances last season, bettering Kahn's record of 19 from the 2001/02 campaign to set a new league record. Neuer conceded just 18 goals, saving 80 per cent of the shots on his goal (only Gladbach's Yann Sommer did better) and scuppered 56 per cent of big chances (league best).
5. Individual class
VfL Wolfsburg have a fantastic team, but the squad Bayern boast is second to none. To get an idea of the quality Pep Guardiola has to choose from each week, just read through the squad list and try to pick a top 11. Tough, isn't it? Thiago, Arjen Robben, Mario Götze, Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller (pictured) and Douglas Costa. The list goes on, yet at least two of these will have to sit on the bench on Saturday. Factor in that Franck Ribéry is still injured and Philipp Lahm and David Alaba may play in midfield, then certainly Guardiola has an enviable troop.