Hello and welcome one and all to DW’s coverage of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season opener as reigning champions Bayern Munich get set to welcome Schalke to the Allianz Arena on Friday night (kickoff 20:30 CEST/19:30 GMT/14:30 ET). DW’s match blog goes live 90 minutes before the first whistle, until then feel free to feast your eyes on all the prematch talking points below.
Read more: ‘Best Bayern ever’ appear untouchable
The defending champions have never lost the offical season opener since it was introduced in 2002, winning 14 and drawing four. The last time the title holders lost their first game was 19 years ago, before an official curtain-raiser, when Bayern were beaten 1-0 in Gladbach in 2001.
Robert Lewandowski made history last season, becoming the first player to win the treble and be top scorer in all three competitions. In the Bundesliga the prolific Pole had a hand in 39 goals (34 goals, 5 assists) – Schalke only managed 38 in the entire season!
Schalke have lost each of their last eight competitive matches against Bayern by an aggregate scoreline of 22-2. Across the three encounters in the Bundesliga and German Cup last season the score stood at 9-0.
Scoring goals has been an issue for Schalke ever since Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul rocked the Bundesliga by combining for 44 goals in a single season. Paciencia, who has netted 10 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht, has been brought in to try and solve the problem.
Hansi Flick won a treble in just 36 games with Bayern. The Bavarians have won 33 matches, drawn once and lost twice, with the last of those over nine months ago on 7 December 2019 in Mönchengladbach (2-1). Bayern are therefore unbeaten in 30 competitive games (W29, D1)!
“This is the first game and I have told the team that it’s not important how big the first step is, only that we’re on the right track. We need to concentrate and bring a high intensity to the game.”
“We made continual progress throughout preseason and fine-tuned a lot of our processes on the pitch. We are ready and full of anticipation for the Bundesliga season to get underway.”
Read more: No fans for the season opener
Bayern could play 57 competitive matches in the space of 253 days between September 18, 2020 (Bundesliga matchday 1) and May 29, 2021 (Champions League Final in Istanbul), encompassing the Bundesliga, German Cup, Champions League, Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Possible lineup: Bayern Munich
Neuer – Pavard, Süle, Alaba, Davies – Kimmich, Goretzka – Gnabry, Müller, Sane – Lewandowski
Possible lineup: Schalke
Fährmann – Rudy, Kabak, Stambouli, Oczipka – Schöpf, Bentaleb, Serdar – Harit – Uth, Paciencia