By Ssekamatte Allan Mabiriizi Simonsen
A fifty percent win rate is good enough to secure the long term future of most football managers. Not at Bayern Munich where Thomas Tuchel is under mounting pressure to justify his position following the Allianz Arena giants’ 0-3 capitulation at the hands of RB Leipzig in the German Super Cup. The Bavarians second consecutive home loss to Marco Rose’s visitors, who also felled the rekordmeisters in the penultimate game of last season’s Bundesliga, left Tuchel with an unenviable win rate of just five victories his last ten competitive encounters.
It is a record the former Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Mainz coach is hoping to improve when Bayern Munich visit four time Bundesliga winners Werder Bremen in the season opener on Friday night. Tuchel will especially demand an improvement from central defenders Kim Mi-Jae and Matthijs de Ligt who failed to come to terms with Leipzig’s hat trick hero Dani Olmo. The club’s €100m record signing Harry Kane will be the player to watch as he pits his wits against last season’s joint top scorer Niclas Fulkrug of Bremen.
Perennial bridesmaids Borussia Dortmund open their campaign at home to Koln keen to atone for last season’s final day meltdown that witnessed the Black and Yellows surrender the title on goal difference after being held to a 2-2 draw by Mainz at their Signal Iduna Park fortress. Dortmund were the last division champions before Bayern Munich started their eleven year domination but they will have to do without reigning player of the season Jude Bellingham who was sold to Real Madrid and Mahmood Dawood, a free transfer to Brighton Hove Albion. Marcel Sabitzer has been recruited by Eden Terzic to plug the hole in midfield.
A mouthwatering encounter takes place at the Bay Arena where Bayer Leverkusen welcome German Super Cup winners RB Leipzig. Xabi Alonso’s hosts sold star attacking midfielder Moussa Diaby to Aston Villa but have replaced him with the very capable Victor Boniface whereas Marco Rose’s visitors have already shown they can cope without top scorer Christopher Nkunku and creative force Dominic Szoboszlai. Former Racing Lens forward Lois Openda and Benjamin Sesko will lead the line for the side from former East Germany.
Newcomers Heidenheim travel to Wolfsburg in Saturday’s other fixture before hard running Union Berlin host Mainz on Sunday. The side from the capital were surprise qualifiers for this season’s Champions League, earning coach Urs Fischer the Bundesliga manager of the season accolade. He has recruited Robin Gosens from Inter Milan for a club record €15m and got David Datro Fofana on loan from Chelsea to help his side juggle the added responsibility of playing in Europe. Eintracht Frankfurt host Darmstadt in Sunday’s late kick off.
Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich
Hoffenheim v Freiburg,
Stuttgart v Bochum,
Augsburg v Gladbach,
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig,
Wolfsburg v Heidenheim,
Borussia Dortmund’ v Koln
Union Berlin v Mainz
Eintracht Frankfurt v Darmstadt