BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund will be looking to end Pep Guardiola's winning start as Bayern Munich coach on Saturday when the teams renew their rivalry in the German Super Cup.
"It's a title and every title is important, regardless of the opponent," Guardiola said on Friday. The Champions League finalists meet at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund for the first title of the season, one week before Bayern starts its German Cup defense and two before it begins defending its Bundesliga title.
Guardiola has overseen wins in each of Bayern's pre-season friendlies, including four-goal victories over Hamburger SV and Borussia Moenchengladbach, as well as a 2-0 win over Barcelona on Wednesday. "I'm happy up to now but we need a bit more time," Guardiola said after 61 goals scored and three conceded in nine games. "Perhaps we need to improve a little up front."
The Spanish coach took over from Jupp Heynckes, who made way after leading Bayern to an unprecedented treble. "We'll be well prepared and we'll deliver a good game," Guardiola said ahead of his first possible title as Bayern coach. "(But) it's only the start of the season. There's still a long, long road ahead."
The game will be shown live in 195 countries, reflecting the growing interest in German football since Bayern defeated Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley Stadium to become European champion in May. "This coming Saturday isn't so important," Bayern president Uli Hoeness told Bild. "The most important Saturday was at Wembley."
On paper at least, Guardiola's side is even better than his predecessor's with the offseason additions of Germany star Mario Goetze from Dortmund and highly rated midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona.
Germany striker Mario Gomez departed for Italian side Fiorentina, but Mario Mandzukic established himself as the preferred forward last season, and Guardiola's penchant for playing without an out-and-out goalscorer is well-known from his days at Barcelona, which he led to 14 out of a possible 19 titles.
Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller started up front against his former side on Wednesday, offering an indication of Guardiola's likely preferred formation before Goetze returns from injury.
Goetze was due to bid farewell to his former side, but it was decided he would stay in Munich due to fan anger over his 37 million euro ($49 million) switch between the sides. Ribery and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer picked up injuries against Barcelona and will not play, Guardiola said.
Dortmund returned to pre-season training later than Bayern, and the team will be missing Goetze-replacement Henrikh Mkhitaryan and injured defender Lukasz Piszczek, while Jakub Blaszczykowski and offseason signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are both doubtful as they recover from a stomach bug.
"We're not going to field a second string side," Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said. "We want the first title of the season and are looking forward to a great game." Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp told the Bundesliga website there was no question of "revenge" for losing the Champions League final.
"Nobody left the field after that game, saying 'Next time, we're going to show you!' All we want to do on Saturday is play good football again and then, if possible, keep the cup in Dortmund," Klopp said.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels also played down the notion of revenge. "A win over Bayern could be a good indicator how successful our season could be," Hummels said. "We want to beat one of the, if not the, best team in the world. That's our goal, and that's our motivation."