The 2020 UEFA Super Cup takes place on Thursday night, as Bayern Munich faces Sevilla at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary.
A staple of the continental calendar, the yearly contest pitting the winners of the Champions League against the winners of the Europa League is always one of the most anticipated matchups of the campaign.
With two elite teams set to take the field, this year should be no different.
Bayern may have only played one game so far, but they’ve already had a number of players pick up knocks.
David Alaba and Alphonso Davies are both doubtful, and likely won’t be risked with another Bundesliga game on the horizon. Meanwhile, Tanguy Nianzou is unavailable for selection, as the summer signing has yet to heal from a hamstring injury.
Luckily for Sevilla, they’ve got a clean bill of health going into the contest, with no one out injured.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Pavard, Boateng, Sule, Hernandes, Kimmich, Muller, Goretzka, Sane, Lewandowski, Gnabry
Sevilla: Bounou, Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Escudero, Rakitic, Fernando, Jordán, Suso, de Jong, Campos
Ones to watch
He may have arrived a year later than Munich would have liked, but the Bundesliga opener against Schalke showed just how dangerous the Bavarians now are with Leroy Sane in the lineup.
Coming to the Allianz Arena for a fee of roughly 50 million pounds from Manchester City, the German immediately hit the ground running at the start of the campaign. He was immense versus the Royal Blues, as Sane set up Serge Gnabry twice before grabbing a goal of his own before the night was done.
He’ll certainly be key for Munich going forward, as his raw pace and talent on the ball makes him a nightmare for opposing defenders, which will open up space for the likes of Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski as a result.
Bayern won the treble without him, so it’s scary to think about how much better they can be with Sane now on the wing.
Ivan Rakitic, another summer signing, returned to Sevilla this summer for only a few million pounds after six years and plenty of trophies at FC Barcelona.
He had lost his starting spot in the Barca lineup, and deservedly so. Age hasn’t been kind to Rakitic, as he looked like a shell of his old self at the end of last season. He was too slow to do anything in the midfield, and he wasn’t creating enough in the final third either.
However, there’s a good chance the Croatian can resurrect his career at Sevilla. The club knows how to get the most out of it’s players, and in the right system, Rakitic could still thrive. He brings loads of experience and technical ability to the team, which is crucial in big games like this.
He’ll have a tough test ahead of him, as Munich have one of the most dominant midfields in Europe, but Rakitic could prove on Thursday night that it’s still too soon to write him off.
It’s been over two years since the last time these two last faced off, with their most recent matchups coming in the 2018 Champions League quarterfinals.
Sevilla would take the lead after 30 minutes in the first leg in Spain, as a cross from Sergio Escudero picked out a streaking Pablo Sarabia, who brought the ball down before volleying home from close range.
Munich hit back only seven minutes later, though. Frank Ribery found space on the wing before hitting a first time pass into the area. Fortunately for him, it bounced off defender Jesus Navas into the back of the net to give the Germans a crucial away goal.
Bayern would grab one more before the night was done, benefitting from another fortunate deflection. A lofted ball from Ribery found Thiago at the backpost, and his header attempt ricocheted off Escudero before flying past a helpless David Soria.
The second leg was a much tighter affair, as Munich knew that they would advance as long as they didn’t concede twice. They would do just that, keeping a clean sheet despite Sevilla’s best efforts going forward, which sent the Bavarians to the semifinal stage.
Where to watch
Those in the UK can watch the contest on BT Sport 1, while supporters in the United States can see the game on CBS Sports Network.