RB Leipzig have retained the services of Christopher Nkunku, while Bayern Munich have lured Sadio Mane away from Liverpool. How do the DFB Cup holders and defending Bundesliga champions compare ahead of the 2022/23 season's curtain-raising Supercup? bundesliga.com investigates...
Summer transfer activity
Continuity is king at Leipzig, where Nkunku sees his future after recently signing a new deal with the club through to summer 2026. The France international was reportedly being courted by some of Europe's biggest clubs following a career-best campaign comprising 35 goals and 20 assists and the Bundesliga Player of the Season award, but says his work at Leipzig "is not done yet".
Tyler Adams has left the Saxony outfit, though Xaver Schlager is a tailor-made replacement at the heart of the midfield following two seasons with Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg. Playmaker Dani Olmo is back to full fitness after a stop-start campaign, while head coach Domenico Tedesco is embarking on his first full season at the helm, having stepped into the void in December 2021, delivering a top-four finish and Die Roten Bullen's first major piece of silverware.
Watch: Leipzig targeting more silverware in 2022/23
Bayern won their 10th successive Bundesliga title in 2021/22, but exited the DFB Cup in the second round and UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage. The top brass have invigorated Julian Nagelsmann's senior squad accordingly, bringing in Mane, Matthijs de Ligt, Ryan Gravenberch, Noussair Mazraoui and Mathys Tel.
Mane's arrival, for one, should go some way to filling the void left by Robert Lewandowski's move to Barcelona. The African Player of the Year is a proven goalscorer, capable of filling Lewandowski's boots as a No.9, should Nagelsmann choose. Fans only need look at his tally of 120 goals and 48 assists in 269 competitive appearances for Liverpool between 2016 and 2022.
Club cornerstones Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry have put pen to paper on contract extensions, while de Ligt brings top-level experience and leadership to last season's joint-meanest Bundesliga defence.
Watch: Sadio Mane - the Bundesliga's new superstar
Defence vs. attack
It's a best-mark Bayern shared with Leipzig (37 goals conceded). First-choice goalkeepers Neuer and Peter Gulacsi were even tied on a league-leading 10 clean sheets, though it was the Bayern No.1 who shipped fewer goals (26 in 28 appearances) to Gulacsi's 34 in 33.
Willi Orban was Leipzig's most-used centre-back (30 appearances), followed by Mohamed Simakan (29 apps) and Josko Gvardiol (28 apps). The latter won more challenges (336) than any Leipzig or Bayern player (28 apps/ 36 challenges won), but a thigh injury means Germany international Marcel Halstenberg may line up in his stead on the left of Tedesco's three-man defence.
Benjamin Henrichs and Angelino provide natural width in the wing-back positions, whilst facilitating a mid-game switch to four or five at the back. Two from central midfielders Konrad Laimer, Kevin Kampl, Amadou Haidara and Schlager form the bridge between defence and a 1-2 or 2-1 attack in which Nkunku - who had a direct hand in 33 of Leipzig's 75 Bundesliga goals last term - essentially has free rein.
Andre Silva, Emil Forsberg, Dani Olmo and Dominik Szoboszlai are the candidates to complete Tedesco's pliable attacking triumvirate. Silva - the only out-and-out central striker of the bunch - started both meetings with Bayern in 2021/22 (4-1 and 3-2 defeats), scoring once. Long-serving great Dane Yussuf Poulsen is sidelined until mid-September.
Watch: The best of Leipzig in 2021/22
Nagelsmann's formation of choice isn't overly different to Tedesco's. The 35-year-old favoured three at the back whilst in charge of Hoffenheim and Leipzig, before merging it with Bayern's traditional 4-2-3-1 across the 2021/22 campaign. Pre-season showings against DC United (6-2) and Manchester City (0-1) suggest a variation on a 3-4-3 could be the new norm.
A fully fit de Ligt starts in either formation, most likely with Lucas Hernandez - one of four FIFA World Cup winners in the current squad - to his left. Dayot Upamecano, despite being Bayern's top-performing defender last season, ranking second to Lewandowski for challenges won (292) and first for passes completed (91.94 percent), is next in the pecking order.
Alphonso Davies is unchallenged in the left-wing-back area. On the opposite flank, the signing of Mazraoui brings Benjamin Pavard's role in the team into question. Neuer, Kimmich and Müller make up Nagelsmann's trusty German spine, as they have for much of the most successful era in the red ballet's decorated history.
Former Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer was the winner of Bayern's US tour, meanwhile, starting in place of the injured Leon Goretzka against DC United and Man City, with Gravenberch eased in as a substitute on both occasions. Mane opened his account on his debut, drifting between his preferred left wing position and the central zone once occupied by Lewandowski.
Gnabry - Bayern's second best scorer and the Bundesliga's most prolific German national last season - put away a Mane assist. He's favoured to share the post-Lewandowski load with the Senegal international, leaving Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala as the remaining alternatives in attack. Tel, 17, further bolsters a Bayern outfit that hit a league-leading 97 goals - 25 more than Leipzig - in 2021/22. Nagelsmann believes he could one day be a 40-goal-a-season striker, but not quite yet.
Watch: The best of Bayern in 2021/22
Bayern scored seven times across two meetings with Leipzig alone last term. They won 4-1 at the Red Bull Arena - the venue for the 2022 Supercup - and 3-2 on home soil. The record champions are now unbeaten in their last nine competitive games against Leipzig, only losing one of 14 all told, and have an away record of W5, D2, L1.
It is, however, worth pointing out that Leipzig - under Nagelsmann - were the last team to stop Bayern from scoring in a Bundesliga fixture, at home, some 82 matches ago, on 9 February 2020.
Bayern return to the Red Bull Arena as record seven-time Supercup winners. They have contested every edition of the tournament in its current guise (under the auspices of the Deutsche Fußball Liga since 2010), taking home the prize in 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.
Leipzig, founded in 2009 and promoted to the Bundesliga as recently as 2016, are Supercup debutants. Victory would represent the club's and Tedesco's second piece of major silverware. Nagelsmann is chasing his third since replacing 2020 sextuple winner Hansi Flick in summer 2021.
>> Click here for Supercup history
>> 5 reasons to watch the Supercup
>> 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?
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