Munich - Reigning Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München are hoping to get the 2014/15 campaign off with a bang when they welcome European aspirants VfL Wolfsburg to the Allianz Arena in Friday night's official curtain-raiser (kick-off 19:30 BST/20:30 CEST).
After suffering a setback in terms of both morale and personnel in the 2014 Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund, the record titleholders, still without fully fit World Cup winners, are keen to maintain their impressive home record against a Wolves' side, out to underline their top-four ambitions by picking up points in Munich.
FC Bayern boss Pep Guardiola has experimented with 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations during pre-season, but with centre-backs Javier Martinez (cruciate ligament) and Jerome Boateng (suspended) joining Bastian Schweinsteiger (patellar tendon) on the sidelines, the Spaniard may be forced to put his plans on hold.
Possible line-up: Neuer - Højbjerg, Badstuber, Dante, Bernat - Alaba, Lahm - Robben, Müller, Götze - Lewandowski
Wolfsburg summer signing Sebastian Jung appears to have won his race to be fit in time to feature at right-back, but question marks remain surrounding the fitness of first-choice goalkeeper Diego Benaglio (flu) and ex-Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo (fitness). Long-term absentee Ivan Perisic (shoulder) definitely misses out.
Possible line-up: Grün - Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Malanda, Guilavogi - Hunt, Arnold, De Bruyne - Olic
Pep Guardiola: "Wolfsburg are a strong side with very, very good players so we'll have to be on our guard. The squad are still not fully fit because of their long summer, but we'll be ready to give 100% in front of our home fans. We want to start the way we mean to end, by winning."
Dieter Hecking: "The team know that we've reached the point when we have to turn up the concentration levels. You could see in training this week that their drive is returning and they're all looking sharp. Matches against FC Bayern München are always special, but we belive we have the quality to get a result."
Top Five Facts:
- FC Bayern are not only unbeaten in 10 Bundesliga meetings with the Wolves (nine wins, one draw), but have also never lost to them on home soil, picking up 49 points from a possible 51.
- FC Bayern haven't lost any of the last 83 matches in which they've taken a 1-0 lead. Their last such defeat came against 1. FC Köln on 5 February 2011, an encounter they lost 3-2.
- VfL Wolfsburg have never picked up three points after falling 1-0 behind against the record titleholders (three draws, 24 losses).
- The Wolves have failed to find the back of the net in 18 of their 34 league fixtures with the Bavarians' and have scored just once - Naldo's opener in last season's 6-1 defeat - in their last six outings.
- Thomas Müller has been directly invovled in nine goals in his previous nine matches against VfL Wolfsburg (five goals, four assists) with eight wins and one draw being the fruits of his labour.