And so it begins. Last season’s Bundesliga and DFB Pokal champions Bayern Munich will face an in-form and energized Schalke side who were Bayern Munich’s most competitive challengers for the Bundesliga crown last season. Felix Magath would like nothing more to pip Bayern Munich to a domestic trophy this season, and he knows he has that chance in this match. Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal will look to continue to dominate the domestic league this year and scoop up major honours, as well as another chase for European glory.
But first, Bayern Munich. In South Africa this summer, Bayern Munich’s star players showed the world that the Bundesliga is most definitely one of the top leagues in Europe, and that Bayern Munich are one of the best teams on the continent. Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who was Bayern Munich’s top goalscorer last season, will unfortunately miss the match with another long-term injury that will most likely keep him out of competitive action for three months. Toni Kroos has returned to the club after a season-long loan last season at Leverkusen, and he will look to impress while Robben is out.
Butt – Lahm, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Badstuber – Schweinsteiger, van Bommel – Ribery, Kroos, Mueller – Olic
Olic was absolutely rampant last season for Bayern Munich, and really pushed Klose and Gomez out of contention for that striker spot. Mueller exploded onto the world football scene in South Africa playing in a wide right position, and I believe he will take up this role for Bayern Munich here, with Kroos playing in an attacking midfield role behind the striker.
What can be said for Raul Gonzalez? He’s an absolute living legend of Spanish football who I believe will take the Bundesliga by storm this season. It’s unbelievable that Schalke let Kuranyi go, who we can all remember was a bit of a lummox who was really just a German Luca Toni, and replaced him with a player with the class of Raul. Not a bad move, Magath! Schalke, I believe, will once again be Bayern Munich’s fiercest challengers for the Bundesliga title this season, and it’ll also be exciting to see how well they manage to do during the Champions League this year as well.
Neuer – Uchida, Metzelder, Howedes, Pander – Jones, Pliatsikas – Baumjohann, Rakitic, Farfan – Raul
German number one goalkeeper will be looking to continue his stellar World Cup form against Bayern Munich, and show Joachim Loew that he deserves to be Germany’s number one goalkeeper for years to come. Metzelder is welcomed back to the Bundesliga after a stint with Real Madrid, and his stability and positional awareness could be the difference for Schalke at the back this season. Rafinha’s move away from the club sees Japanese international Atsuto Uchida fill in the right-back role, and it will be interesting to see how he develops in the Bundesliga this season.
As far as predictions go, I think Schalke will edge this game. Die Roten are drunk with success and Schalke are just revving up for more. The class of a player like Raul could lift Die Konigsblauen over Bayern Munich tomorrow, but all remains to be seen. What’s certain is how well this match could gauge the seasons of two of the Bundesliga’s best sides.
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