German SuperCup Preview

Posted on July 22, 2011

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Domestic Football in Germany is already two weeks old with the kick-off of Bundesliga.2 last week and the start of 3.Liga season this evening.

But the heavyweights of the Bundesliga still have another two weeks to wait before the opening matchday on August 5 when HSV travel to rivals and current champions Borussia Dortmund.

Die Borussen, however, are back in competitive action on Saturday night with the German SuperCup against Ruhr district rivals Schalke 04 in Gelsenkirchen. There will be nothing more satisfying for Jurgen Klopp’s men if they could win the first piece of silverware this season on the home of Die Konigsblauen.

After a 14-year hiatus, the German SuperCup returned last summer when League and cup double winners FC Bayern took on Schalke who finished second in the Bundesliga under Felix Magath.

FC Bayern lifted the trophy in Augsburg thanks to goals from Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose in the space of just six minutes to kick start the campaign on a high for the Bavarians.

Team Preview: Schalke 04

Ralf Rangnick is in charge for his first full season in his second spell with the club after replacing Felix Magath in Gelsenkirchen towards the end of last season. Magath’s side were involved in a relegation battle in the second half of the season whilst chasing Champions League glory in the latter rounds of the competition.

In the Bundesliga, Schalke had a horrible start to the season in comparison with rivals Dortmund. Magath’s side did not win a league match until Week five of the season but after that, they did not win for another five weeks of the season. In the end, a defeat to Bayer Leverksuen in March spelled the end of Magath’s reign at the Veltins Arena and he was swiftly replaced by Ralf Rangnick who led the side to a 14th place finish in the table.

Some of the Royal Blues’ best football came in the DFB Pokal which they went on to win with a thumping 5-0 victory over Bundesliga.2’s MSV Duisburg in Berlin. A double from Huntelaar, and one each from Draxler, Howedes and Jurado clinched the club’s fifth German Cup.

On the road to the final, Schalke defeated FC Bayern, Nurnberg, Augsburg, FSV Frankfurt and VfR Aalen throughout the year.

Felix Magath’s side racked up 13 points from their Champions League group with Lyon, Benfica and Hapoel Tel-Aviv, losing just once from the six matches. After a draw in Spain, an inspired performance from the Germans was enough to secure a 3-1 victory over Valencia in the Last 16 with two goals from Jefferson Farfan.

However, Schalke’s finest performance of the competition came against the reigning European champions Inter Milan when they thrashed the Italians 5-2 in the San Siro with two of the goals coming from Goncalves Edu. Schalke were in no danger in the second leg and goals from Raul and Howedes secured a safe passage to the semi-finals.

It has been a busy summer for Schalke and, in particular, the protracted sale of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who joined FC Bayern for around €20m. Rangnick and sporting director Horst Heldt agreed to release Christian Pander, Gerald Asamoah, Nicolas Plestan, Angelos Charisteas and Ali Karimi. In a bid to lower the wage bill at Schalke, Lukas Schmitz and Junmin Hao also left the club in the summer.

Rangnick has made some interesting signings this summer with Schalke spending close to €4m on Mainz’s left-back Christian Fuchs who had an impressive season with Thomas Tuchel’s side. The Royal Blues were boosted by the early return of Mainz attacker Lewis Holtby who returned from a loan spell with the club, as well as, Jan Moravek and Jermaine Jones who spent last season on loan. To add some depth to the squad, Alemannia Aachen midfielder Marco Hoger joined the club for a fee of €1.5m.

Team Preview: Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund took the Bundesliga by storm last season as they clinched their first league title in nine years under Jurgen Klopp.

The eventual champions dropped just five points from 17 matches in an incredible first-half to the campaign which put them on their way to lifting the championship in May. However, a rocky patch in March and April gave Bayer Leverkusen a glimmer of hope at the end of the season but Klopp’s young side did enough to hold on to their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

Dortmund were eliminated in Round 2 against Kickers Offenbach and went out of the UEFA Europa League at the Group Stages.

Jurgen Klopp made the astute decision to add the Croatian international Ivan Perisic for €5m after a fine campaign with Club Brugge where he scored 22 goals last season. With an eye to replace Nuri Sahin, Klopp added Nurnberg’s 20-year-old midfielder Ilkay Gundogan for €4m. Dortmund’s other summer additions were relatively low-profile with Mustafa Amini and Chris Löwe joining the club, and Mortiz Leitner and Julian Koch returning from loan spells in the second-tier.

There was very little movement at the exit door of Signal Iduna Park with just Nuri Sahin’s transfer to Real Madrid for €10m grabbing the headlines. Brazilian left-back Dede enjoyed a thrilling end to his time at the Westfalen before leaving the club this summer on a free.

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