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5 reasons to watch the Supercup between RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich

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When the Supercup arrives, it can only mean one thing: the Bundesliga is back on the horizon, and the best German football has to offer is ready to provide a glimpse of what's to come in the new season.

>> Click here for Leipzig vs. Bayern team news!

This year, it will be the turn of defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to face DFB Cup holders RB Leipzig in another must-see match-up of two teams expected to tussle all the way for the title in 2022/23.

bundesliga.com has five reasons why this Supercup is going to be quite compelling viewing once again…

1) Sadio Mane

All eyes will be on Bayern's summer signing Sadio Mane as he makes his competitive debut for the record champions. The recently crowned African Footballer of the Year scored 23 goals and provided five assists in 51 games for Liverpool last season, but that tells only part of the story. The 30-year-old plundered 120 goals and 38 assists in 269 games for Liverpool all-told, playing his way into Anfield folklore as he helped the Reds win the UEFA Champions League and a first Premier League title in three decades. Few expected him to leave Merseyside, but the former Red Bull Salzburg forward fancied a new challenge, and they do not come more much attractive than Bayern.

Watch: Sadio Mane's arrival and unveiling 

Having already hit the ground running with a goal on his debut in a 6-2 friendly win over DC United in Washington – just five minutes in, no less – expectations are already huge of the Senegalese star set to shine in the Bundesliga this season. Although not a like-for-like replacement for the departed Robert Lewandowski, Bayern's new No17 can be expected to chip in with a sizeable portion of goals this season, while his creativity and link-up play will no doubt wow Bundesliga fans. Get a first glimpse of what Mane can bring in the Supercup!

2) Christopher Nkunku

A man Mane will be looking to emulate is Christopher Nkunku, who has a similar style and posted similar stats during his time in the Bundesliga. In 134 games for Die Roten Bullen, the Frenchman has scored 44 times and set up 47, operating across the entire field as support to the attack. Last season was the 24-year-old's best yet with 20 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga, and he clicked into gear following a tactical tweak by Domenico Tedesco which afforded him more freedom, being named the Bundesliga's Player of the Season for his outstanding performances.

Given carte blanche to roam from left to right and tuck in behind the forwards – and advance beyond them when he saw fit – Nkunku became arguably the league's most unpredictable player, and a nightmare for defenders. Deservedly, he also made his debut for the France national team, with head coach Didier Deschamps also realising his team needed Nkunku in it. After a summer to recharge the batteries, Nkunku returns to familiar surroundings with the same sort of freedom he enjoyed following Tedesco's arrival, and that only suggests one thing: he's going to be even more fearsome in 2022/23, and you would not want to miss that.

3) New-look Bayern

Not only are Bayern the most successful side in German football, they are also schooled in how to maintain their edge over the rest, even when they lose key players. This summer has seen them lose the world's best player in Lewandowski – a blow most clubs would be unable to recover from. Not Bayern. Not only have they brought in the aforementioned Mane, they have resisted the urge to seek a like-for-like replacement (because none exists) and will instead turn to Julian Nagelsmann's powers of adaptation to spread the goalscoring burden across numerous shoulders, in a new-look, unpredictable approach.

Sadio Mane could emerge as one of Bayern Munich's new stars as part of a new-look attack for the record champions. - IMAGO/IMAGO/ActionPictures

Serge Gnabry may benefit by slotting into a more advanced position, but a false nine is expected to be deployed as a replacement for the previous No9, and that could only benefit the likes of Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman, Mane and Leroy Sane, who could all rotate at will across four attacking berths. Combined, they supplied 64 goals and 55 assists last season, suggesting the goals are not just going to dry up now Lewy's flown the nest, and without a true target-man to aim for, the quintet's natural talent and creativity could become an even greater feature of an even more exciting Bayern style of play. Edge-of-seat stuff that will test the sturdiness of the Red Bull Arena's seating on Saturday.

4) Leipzig go again

Leipzig, on the other hand, are largely unchanged from last season. The question could be asked, therefore, how they can possibly be good enough to compete this term if they finished 19 points off the pace last term, but the answer lies in the continuity. Rewind to the start of last season and Jesse Marsch was calling the shots from the touchline, having replaced Nagelsmann in the hotseat. That was a change of epic proportions, after two years under Nagelsmann, and it ultimately did not work out according to plan. Tedesco swept in to settle the ship, yet he only had from December to May to make an impact. That he did, with 18 wins, seven draws and just five defeats, including winning the first major silverware in the club's history, but the full extent of his impact is yet to be seen.

Domenico Tedesco (l.) brought the best out of Christopher Nkunku (r.) in such a short space of time last season, but can he make him even better after a run-up to the new season? - Christian Schroedter via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Christian Schroedter

Keeping the squad together over the summer can therefore be considered as a positive, with Tedesco able to spend pre-season preaching his philosophy, having only had a matter of days between each game last season to make minor adjustments. That could help Andre Silva return to the form which saw him second only to Lewandowski in the 2020/21 scoring charts, with 28 goals in his final season with Eintracht Frankfurt, and much more can also be expected of the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai and even  Alexander Sorloth, both of whom have now had a full season to adapt to the expectations of the Bundesliga. With old hats Emil Forsberg and Yussuf Poulsen still keen to have a say, the ammunition is there for a familiar-looking, yet different Leipzig side to close the gap on Bayern – not just in the one-off Supercup, but across the coming campaign.

5) Curtain hair-raiser

Not only is the Supercup the curtain-raiser to the new Bundesliga season, it has proven down the years to be also quite a hair-raising fixture. Since a goalless draw between Ruhr rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke back in 2011, there have never been fewer than two goals in a Supercup, while there have been at least four in four of the past five editions. Last season, Bayern laid an early marker with a 3-1 win over Dortmund, having beaten BVB 3-2 in 2020 and thumped Frankfurt 5-0 in 2018. Indeed, Der Klassiker has been a feature of the Supercup in recent years, with two of Germany's most successful clubs serving up delectable starters for the season to come.

Watch: Bayern beat Dortmund to 2021 Supercup

This year, it is the turn of Leipzig to make their Supercup debut and send out an early signal of their intent for the upcoming campaign by following the examples of VfB Stuttgart (1992) and Wolfsburg (2015) by winning at the first time of asking. With two of Germany's brightest young coaches in the dugouts, the return of competitive football will be even more refreshing, and with a full house at the Red Bull Arena, the return of capacity crowds for a whole season is another mouth-watering prospect not to be missed, starting in the 2022 Supercup.

>> Click here for Supercup history
>> How do the two teams compare?
>> 5 reasons Bayern can beat Leipzig
>> 5 reasons Leipzig can beat Bayern
>> Bundesliga Match Facts Supercup preview
>> Leipzig vs. Bayern: contrasting histories
>> German football's exciting new rivalry
>> How might Bayern line up this season?
>> How might Leipzig line up this season?