Bundesliga champions: Bayern Munich; DFB Cup winners: Borussia Dortmund. Both enjoyed successful seasons in 2016/17, but neither have rested on their laurels over the summer making headline signings such as James Rodriguez and Mahmoud Dahoud ahead of what promises to be a thrilling Supercup on Saturday (kick-off: 20:30 CEST/18:30 GMT).
Whether by coincidence or design, there’s been a certain symmetry to the clubs' incoming transfers, with players arriving to bolster both squads throughout a range of positions. bundesliga.com trains its lense on the new players to look out for in the Signal Iduna Park showdown…
Watch: The Supercup is coming!
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid -> Bayern)
The Colombia international was Bayern's marquee arrival, joining on an initial two-year loan deal from Real Madrid. The top scorer from midfield at the 2014 FIFA World Cup – which Germany won – in Brazil, James is able to play anywhere across the front line. Arguably at his most effective in a central attacking position where he can control the play, James has shown glimpses of his quality in Bayern's friendlies so far, winning the Telekom Cup within his first few appearances, although he is yet to open his account for the record champions.
Watch: James: "I'm a born winner!"
James is bound to break his duck sooner rather than later though, especially as Bayern will be eager to send out a statement of intent to their domestic rivals after some off-colour pre-season results, including defeats to AC Milan, Inter Milan and Liverpool. Although predominantly left-footed and not short of pace, James is rather more in the mould of Thiago Alcantara than Arjen Robben, drifting between the lines to find space, doing damage with his clever passing a fearsome shooting.
Maximilian Philipp (Freiburg -> Dortmund)
Philipp, like James, is comfortable operating anywhere across the final third. Signed off the back of a fantastic season for Freiburg in which he helped the Black Forest club finish among the European places with nine goals and two assists, the 23-year-old certainly has a lot of competition for places at the Signal Iduna Park, with Marco Reus, Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic just some of those jostling for the right to supply last term’s top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Philipp caught Dortmund’s eye in particular when he struck a superb goal against them for Freiburg on Matchday 5 last season, though. Two-footed, quick and elusive off the ball, Philipp is a fairly safe bet to have a big impact against a tiring Bayern defence in the closing stages of Saturday’s encounter.
Corentin Tolisso (Lyon -> Bayern)
Filling the void left behind by a player of Xabi Alonso's calibre would be a big ask for anyone, let alone a 22-year-old new to the Bundesliga. However, Carlo Ancelotti appears to be confident that Tolisso is up to the challenge and started him in the club's friendly matches AC Milan, Chelsea and Inter on their Bundesliga World Tour trip to Asia this summer, as well as in matches against Hoffenheim and Liverpool either side.
Tolisso appears certain to start against Dortmund, as fellow midfielders Arturo Vidal, Joshua Kimmich and Sebastian Rudy only recently returned to training. Composed on the ball and with excellent distribution, Tolisso can dictate play from deep like Alonso did, though he is also lethal at the other end, having scored 14 goals in all competitions for Lyon last season. A complete midfielder, Tolisso’s turn of pace and ability to drive forward from deep offer something even his Spanish predecessor could not.
Watch: Tolisso Tekkers!
Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Mönchengladbach -> Dortmund)
Dahoud rose to prominence in the 2015/16 season, coming into the Gladbach midfield as a replacement for departed World Cup winner Christoph Kramer. Unfazed at that task, his consistently high-level performances made him one of the most coveted talents in European football. Dortmund won the race for his signature, adding the 21-year.old’s name to their famed stable of gifted youngsters.
Boasting a maturity beyond his years, Dahoud has first-rate technique, an outstanding range of passing and is dangerous in the final third, with seven goals and 15 assists in 61 Bundesliga outings to date. With Julian Weigl still out until September, this could be a chance for the Syrian-born Germany U-21 international to cement his place in the side.
Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim -> Bayern)
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is a man accustomed to watching world-class players in action first hand, which makes his effusive praise of Rudy all the more noteworthy. "He's a player with enormous strategic know-how who's got what it takes to shape Bayern's game," he said. "People seem to think that only players with huge transfer fees are any good, but I'm confident he'll prove that's not the case."
Rudy was a mainstay for Hoffenheim last term, starting 32 of 34 Bundesliga games to help them to a fourth-placed finish. That also convinced Germany boss Joachim Löw to include him in his Confederations Cup squad, where he was equally influential en route to winning the title. His unrivalled positioning, unhurried nature and tactical awareness are sure to endear him to Ancelotti and although Rudy may not yet have the star appeal of some of his new team-mates, he figures to be no less effective.
Niklas Süle (Hoffenheim -> Bayern)
Ostensibly signed as one for the future, the former Hoffenheim centre-back made it clear at his unveiling this week that he was not in Munich merely to make up the numbers – he is there to play. An imposing figure at 6ft. 4in. tall, Süle is virtually impossible to beat in the air and almost as difficult to handle on the ground, clocking just one mile per hour less than Bayern’s fastest player – Kingsley Coman – at full speed.
Yet there are also brains to match the brawn. Süle rarely gives the ball away and completed nearly 90 per cent of his passes in the Bundesliga last season. Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez are the centre-back pairing of choice for Ancelotti at present – with Jerome Boateng working his way back from injury – but there is no doubt Süle has all the attributes to thrive in the Bavarian capital.
Ömer Toprak (Bayer Leverkusen -> Dortmund)
Dortmund tend to favour youth when it comes to new players, but the opportunity to sign an experienced campaigner such as Toprak was simply too good to pass up this summer. The Germany-born Turkey international made 154 Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen prior to the switch and will be a valuable addition to the side.
Even-tempered, at ease on the ball and a rugged tackler, Toprak will provide competition for places at centre-back alongside Marc Bartra and Sokratis, with new coach Peter Bosz yet to settle on a preferred pairing. The fact he excelled as captain in a 0-0 draw between Leverkusen and Bayern on Matchday 29 last season might help sway the decision…
Watch: The Top 10 goal-line clearances in 2016/17 - none better than Toprak's!
Dan-Axel Zagadou (Paris Saint-Germain -> Dortmund)
Tall? Check. Quick? Check. Comfortable in possession? Check. Name pretty much any quality you can think of as necessary for a top-quality centre-back and you can be assured that Zagadou has it. The France U-18 captain looks to be an outstanding signing from Dortmund, who jumped at the chance to bring him in from PSG.
He may be at the bottom of the centre-back pecking order at present but club sporting director Michael Zorc is convinced Zagadou can make the grade: "We've no doubt he has the quality, and look forward to helping him take his next steps as a Dortmund professional."