The likes of Marvin Ducksch, Niclas Füllkrug, Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala (l-r.) will face off as Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich contest the opening fixture of the 2023/24 season. - © DFL
The likes of Marvin Ducksch, Niclas Füllkrug, Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala (l-r.) will face off as Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich contest the opening fixture of the 2023/24 season. - © DFL

Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich: a season-opener steeped in Bundesliga history


Werder Bremen vs. Bayern Munich: there could scarcely be a more fitting fixture to kick off 60 years of the Bundesliga as the pair bring up the curtain on the 2023/24 season, and Harry Kane's German top-flight debut adds an extra layer of intrigue to the clash.

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The 2023/24 Bundesliga season’s opener will take place on August 18, just shy of 60 years since Bremen contested the German top flight’s first-ever match, against Borussia Dortmund, on 24 August 1963. Victorious that day, despite conceding first, the Green-Whites have since clocked up another 1967 Bundesliga matches - a tally bettered only by record champions Bayern (1976).

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the gargantuan numbers, Bayern - promoted in 1965 - and Bremen - one of 16 founding members - are the longest-serving clubs in Bundesliga history. Primed to compete in their 59th Bundesliga season out of a possible 61, the two German football juggernauts are guaranteed to break the 2000-game mark before the 2023/24 campaign is out.

Watch: Bremen and Bayern set for huge opener

Bayern have had the rub of the green much of the time, and not just in terms of titles won. The 32-time Bundesliga champions, who have never been relegated from the top tier, have beaten Werder 60 times out of 112 at this level – the most played fixture in the Bundesliga – and are on a lengthy 28-match run in the fixture. Bremen’s last, and 26th victory over Bayern - a 5-2 win at the Allianz Arena – fell almost 15 years ago, on 20 September 2008.

That said, the Bayern-Bremen rivalry hasn’t always been so one-sided. Only Borussia Mönchengladbach have taken down Bayern more often (28 Bundesliga wins) than the Green-Whites, who posted a memorable win in Munich - taking a 3-0 half-time lead no less - en route to lifting their fourth Bundesliga title in 2003/04. All told, the two sides have finished in the Bundesliga’s top two on seven occasions, albeit not since 2007/08.

Bayern took the prize that season and have done so in all but three campaigns since, including the last 11 in a row. They beat Bremen home (6-1) and away (2-1) last term, with Serge Gnabry plundering four goals against the club where he spent the 2016/17 campaign. Incidentally, Bayern and Bremen kicked off proceedings back then - a 6-0 rout for the men from Munich.

Watch: The last time Bayern and Bremen met on the opening day

Werder have finished as high as third and as low as 17th across the same 15-year period, whilst spending 2021/22 in Bundesliga 2. Bouncing back at the first time of asking, Ole Werner’s side enjoyed a relatively comfortable return to the big time in 2022/23, ultimately placing 13th.

Former Bayern youngster Marco Friedl has established himself as team captain and, while Bremen will have to wait until new signing Naby Keita pulls on the famous green and white for the first time in the league as he continues to recover from an injury picked up in pre-season, Niclas Füllkrug ended the previous campaign as the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorer on 16 goals – two more than Bayern’s best in the same category, Gnabry. The 30-year-old has also secured the No.9 shirt in a traditionally Bayern-heavy Germany side, and will be looking to start off in style against the Rekordmeister this term.

Watch: All 16 Füllkrug goals last season

“Fülle has shown he knows where the goal is,” said Bayern forward Thomas Müller of his international teammate at the 2022 World Cup. “He’s our No.9, has a hammer of a right foot and is great to have in the side. In an ideal world, he’d lead the line with me in behind, but we have so much attacking quality to choose from.”

Füllkrug is not the only star centre-forward expected to take the field at the Weser-Stadion, either. Last week, Bayern completed the signing of Kane from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and, while the 30-year-old was unable to inspire the team to victory when coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 Supercup defeat to RB Leipzig, a full week of training with his new teammates will no doubt help him hit the ground running.

Watch: Behind the scenes of Kane's first day at Bayern

All of this should contribute to a captivating clash. Will the Bundesliga’s newest superstar get off the mark and fire his side to the three points, or will ‘Lücke’ help Bremen make history as the first team to defeat a defending champion in an official Bundesliga opener?

Subplots abound in the 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign’s curtaining-raising clash of the German football titans – miss it, miss out!

Get all the key dates for 2023/24 here!