Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich

18 August 2023 - 3:12 pm

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Kane or no Kane, it’s about as tough as an opening gambit that Bremen could have asked for. The Green-Whites have a miserly record in meetings with Bayern, having not won in 31 competitive meetings going back to 2008, though did push them all the way in a narrow 2-1 home loss at the tail end of last season.

Ole Werner’s team ultimately finished 13th on their return to the Bundesliga, albeit only three points clear of the relegation play-off spot. They’ve strengthened over the summer by bringing in Naby Keita, though the former RB Leipzig and Liverpool midfielder is currently out with a groin injury sustained in a pre-season friendly.

Poland international striker Dawid Kownacki is among the other new faces at the Weserstadion, but it’s the retention of Niclas Füllkrug that represents arguably the club’s best bit of business.

The Germany international finished the previous campaign as the Bundesliga’s joint top scorer on 15 goals, and will once again be key to their survival prospects.

Bayern’s win in Bremen was one of a number of decisive moments in a thrilling title race shaded by the record champions on the final day, on goal difference. Results have been mixed in pre-season, while Thomas Tuchel’s side suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to DFB Cup holders Leipzig in last weekend’s Supercup.

A second-half substitute in that game following his record transfer from Tottenham Hotspur less than 24 hours earlier, Tuchel confirmed on Thursday that the England striker Kane is set to make his first start on Matchday 1.

Fellow summer signing Min-jae Kim is also pushing for inclusion in the back four, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer remains on the sidelines.

Leon Goretzka appears to have been pushed down the midfield pecking order by Konrad Laimer’s arrival from Leipzig, meanwhile, and will likely be joined by the likes of Thomas Müller and Dayot Upamecano on a enviable-looking substitutes’ bench.