Taking the first step towards a potential 12th straight title, Bayern Munich kick off their Bundesliga campaign on Friday, when Werder Bremen plays host to Germany’s perennial champions.
Following their humbling defeat in the DFL-Supercup, Bayern have a point to prove at Weserstadion, where they have won on their last 14 visits and Werder accrued the lowest number of home points in the league last season.
Following a pre-season period which commenced with a 27-0 win and encompassed a quick trip to Japan and Singapore, Bayern Munich returned to competitive action last week, with RB Leipzig their opponents in the DFL-Supercup.
Thomas Tuchel’s side suffered a shock 3-0 loss to the DFB-Pokal winners in German football’s curtain-raiser, as headline-grabbing arrival Harry Kane made his debut as a second-half substitute soon after the completion of his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur.
As Bayern attempt to recover from such a setback and start their pursuit of a 12th straight league crown with a win, the England captain is set to make his first start on Friday night, when the Bavarian giants meet their favourite opponents.
Unbeaten against Werder Bremen in 31 competitive matches – winning 27 times in the process and racking up nearly a century of goals – Die Roten’s last loss in this fixture came back in September 2008.
Furthermore, Tuchel – who led Bayern to top spot by the skin of their teeth on the final day of last season – has won his last nine matches against Werder, which is a streak that stretches back to 2013.
Despite a decline in performances, last term Bayern were once again Germany’s best away team, picking up 33 points on the road en route to pipping Tuchel’s former club Borussia Dortmund to the title; meanwhile, Bremen posted 10 home defeats.
As the reigning Bundesliga champions have not lost their first fixture in any of the past 21 years, precedent is certainly stacked in Bayern’s favour, then, ahead of the clubs’ clash on opening night.
Indeed, Werder Bremen have not won the first game in any of their last eight Bundesliga seasons, and they have lost more league matches against Bayern Munich than against any other team – a total of 60 and counting.
Towards the end of last season, Die Grun-Weissen suffered a slim 2-1 home loss to the Bavarians, as they ultimately finished 13th on their return to the top flight.
Ole Werner’s men were only three points clear of a relegation playoff spot, as they won just one of their last 12 Bundesliga fixtures and lost eight to end the 2022-23 campaign in dismal style.
Returning to competitive action with another loss last week, 10-man Werder were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by 3. Liga side Viktoria Koln; conceding three goals in the final 20 minutes, including a stoppage-time strike which consigned them to a 3-2 defeat.
A battle for survival could be on the cards, then, with Bremen again relying on Niclas Fullkrug to fire them to safety – the Germany striker finished last term as the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorer on 15 goals.
We say: Werder Bremen 1-3 Bayern Munich
Although they made a rare slip-up last weekend, Bayern’s squad seems more formidable than ever, as a host of internationals jostle just for a place on the bench. If they can click into gear quickly, feeding Harry Kane with the right service, goals are sure to follow – therefore, a 15th straight win at Weserstadion surely awaits.