German champions, Bayern Munich will traditionally open the new Bundesliga season when they welcome Hertha BSC to the Allianz Arena tonight at 20:30 (CET).
Bayern Munich begin their quest for an eighth consecutive Bundesliga crown against Hertha Berlin on Friday night.
The Bavarians are 29-time German champions (record winners) and by far the greatest football club in the country in the past 20 years.
It is going to be a clash between two Croatian coaches – Nico Kovac vs Ante Covic, as they meet each other for the first time in their professional careers.
Hertha will be looking to win in the top half of the table this season, after finishing in 11th in the 2018-19 campaign.
Benjamin Pavard is expected to make his Bayern Munich debut in the Bundesliga opener against Hertha, while Lucas Hernandes is unlikely to start, given that he only joined team training last week.
New signing Ivan Perisic will miss the game through suspension due to cards accumulated last season in Serie A, while Javi Martinez is sidelined with a knee injury.
This weekend 😍 pic.twitter.com/tmTQViDryb
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 14, 2019
Marvin Plattenhardt, Arne Maier, Javairo Dilrosun and Peter Pekarik have all been ruled out for Hertha through injury, as well as new signing from Celtic, Dedryck Boyata.
Dodi Lukebakio is in contention to make his debut for the club, while Maximilian Mittelstadt is a major injury doubt for the Blue-Whites’ new manager.
What did the managers say
Nico Kovac says he wants to defend the Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich this season.
“It’s like every year: nobody really knows where they stand,” he said before the match via the club’s official website.
“The results from pre-season friendlies must not be overestimated. Hard work awaits us on Friday. But we’re at home, we’ll contest the first match of the Bundesliga campaign, and we want to win of course.”
“The arrival of a new coach creates an enthusiastic atmosphere. Hertha will take a step forward with Ante Covic. However, we want to win the title and start with a victory.”
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 15, 2019
Hertha’s new coach Ante Covic spoke about his first days as a manager of the football club.
“Not a lot of time but a lot of effort: that’s exactly what I was expecting (laughs). The more important thing for us to recognise is that we are dealing with people. We need to realise that people sometimes go through difficult phases.” he said via Hertha’s official website.
“It’s important that you give the boys constant support so that they are able to pick themselves up again. The level of effort compared to coaching the U23s is definitely bigger, since you‘re collecting and analysing a lot more data while also having access to more video material.”
“After all, we film every training session. Even the team behind the team is noticeably bigger, but I’m happy to have them since they all help us improve and move forward.”
Stats (via Bundesliga)
The reigning Bundesliga champion has not lost on Matchday 1 since 2002 (W14, D3).
Bayern have won their last seven opening fixtures on their way to the title, while Hertha have won a club-record four in a row.
The Bavarians are unbeaten in 24 Bundesliga home games against Hertha (W19, D5) and haven’t conceded in the last five.
Manuel Neuer has kept nine clean sheets in his 10 home games against Hertha, winning all of them.
However, the Berliners have lost just one of their last five league encounters with the record champions. (1-0 in Munich in the last season)
Lukebakio scored four times against Bayern last season for Düsseldorf, including that hat-trick in the 3-3 draw at the Allianz Arena.
Thomas Muller has scored the opening goal of a Bundesliga season a record three times (2010, 2014 and 2018).