Different pasts, same goal: RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich offer Supercup contrast


With plenty of intrigue already surrounding Saturday's Supercup encounter between DFB Cup holders RB Leipzig and defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, the contrasting journeys both teams have taken throughout their respective histories adds one more ingredient to the fascinating pre-match programme.

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

While Bayern are competing for Supercup honours for an 11th successive season, this is Leipzig's first tilt at the trophy since collecting their first major piece of silverware in the form of the DFB Cup in May. Contrast that with the Bavarian giants, who are heading to the Red Bull Arena carrying the Meisterschale, which they won for a record-extending 10th consecutive season in 2021/22.

With 31 Bundesliga title wins, Bayern are the undisputed kings of German football, but what's not to love about a narrative that pits footballing royalty against the young pretenders to the throne?

Christopher Nkunku and Leroy Sane (l-r.) are ready to challenge for Supercup honours. - IMAGO / motivio

In terms of Germany's top-flight teams, they don't come any younger than Leipzig, who were founded just 13 years ago. Indeed, when Die Roten Bullen came into existence in 2009, Bayern had already been Bundesliga champions 20 times. Back then, Leipzig began as a highly ambitious outfit in the fifth tier of German football, established with the aim of making it to the big time in super quick time.

They achieved that, gaining three successive promotions before reaching the second division. After just two campaigns in Bundesliga 2, the Saxony-based side reached the promised land, finishing second to Freiburg in 2015/16, the team they would beat in last May's DFB Cup final.

Bayern, on the other hand, have been in existence almost as long as football has. Brought together by a group of players in 1900, the Bavarian outfit are 109 years older than their opponents this Saturday. European Cup winners on six occasions, Bayern have such monumental significance in the global game that their players and achievements, both past and present, are largely known by football aficionados of all ages.

Watch: Bayern wrote another chapter of their never-ending success story in 2021/22

From influential captain Franz Beckenbauer and the Bundesliga's all-time leading goalscorer, Gerd Müller, to modern-day greats like Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller, the club's players are household names wherever the ball rolls.

Leipzig's players may not be quite as well known outside of Germany, but the club can still count on many of those who helped them rise through the ranks and reach the Bundesliga. Yussuf Poulsen, for example, is the team's all-time record appearance holder (328) and goalscorer (81) while Emil Forsberg is the side's top assist provider (60).

They, along with the likes of goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and defender Willi Orban form part of the early foundation of a club that may be a long way behind Bayern in terms of years and trophies, but that is eager to emulate the successes of their new-found rivals.

Leipzig are up and running in the trophy stakes after winning the DFB Cup last May. - Alex Grimm/Getty Images

As well as the Bayern players who have made their mark on football as a whole down through the years, like the aforementioned Beckenbauer, both of the Müllers and Neuer, there have been other club legends like Sepp Maier, Lothar Matthäus, Paul Breitner, Oliver Kahn, Klaus Augenthaler, Robert Lewandowski, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger ... the list is endless.

And so too is the list of coaches who have sat at the helm of the mighty Bavarians, with 30 distinct names having taken their place on the bench in the Bundesliga era prior to current tactician Julian Nagelsmann.

Croatian Zlatko Cajkovski was first into the Bayern hotseat when Bayern took their first steps in the Bundesliga in 1965 and just seven coaching changes followed over the subsequent 23 years before Jupp Heynckes first took up the reins in 1987. Heynckes would eventually enjoy four separate stints as Bayern coach - overseeing a treble of Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup in 2012/13 - while Beckenbauer, Giovanni Trapattoni and Ottmar Hitzfeld earned two shots at the role.

Watch: Bayern defended their Supercup crown in 2021

The likes of Louis van Gaal, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti also brought their own style and passion to the coaching job at the Allianz Arena, while Naglesmann's predecessor, Hansi Flick, led the team to an incredible six trophies - making Bayern only the second team in history to win the sextuple - in 2020.

By contrast, Leipzig have had just five coaches in their seven Bundesliga seasons to date. Ralph Hasenhüttl was the man in charge when Die Roten Bullen finished their debut top-flight season in second place, and after Ralf Rangnick oversaw first team affairs in 2017/18, current Bayern boss Nagelsmann was brought in for two successful seasons, with successive top-three Bundesliga finishes, a Champions League semi-final and DFB Cup final celebrated between 2019 and 2021.

Current coach Domenico Tedesco replaced Jesse Marsch last December and led Leipzig to their first major trophy along with a top-four finish and a place in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

Bayern can now point to over 80 major pieces of silverware within their extensive trophy cabinet and, although Leipzig are aiming to add what would be only their second this Saturday, the hosts will not be overawed by their prestigious opponents.

The historical record between the clubs also heavily favours the visitors - with Bayern winning eight of the teams' previous 14 meetings to Leipzig's one - but with both sides looking forward to a bright season ahead, the contrasting fortunes of what went before will be put to one side once the opening whistle signals lift off to the 2022/23 season on Saturday.

>> Click here for Supercup history
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>> How might Leipzig line up this season?