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Bayern and Dortmund square off in pre-season Supercup

The giants of German football meet on Saturday for the semi-serious Supercup. Bayern beat Dortmund 2-1 in the same game prior to the start of last season, before dashing Dortmund's hopes in every other competition.

Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund qualify by default for the Supercup, traditionally played between the league and German Cup winners, after Bayern Munich's domestic double last season. It was the same story, although in reverse, 12 months ago when Dortmund held both German titles.

This quasi-competitive game serves as a scene-setter for the new season and will also be the first non-friendly match in charge for new Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 12: The supercup trophy is pictured before the Bundesliga Supercup 2012 match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at Allianz-Arena on August 12, 2012 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

As well as this trophy, plenty of pride is at stake

"Tomorrow a title is at stake. And a title is always important," Guardiola, already something of an adept in the German language, told reporters ahead of the game.

The Catalan former Barcelona coach said that the Supercup would be "my first official game" with Bayern, saying "we will be well prepared and will play a good game." Bayern have won every single pre-season friendly they have played, including an encounter with Guardiola's old Barcelona outfit, scoring 61 goals in nine games and conceding just three.

German national goalie Manuel Neuer and the Bundesliga's top performer last season, Franck Ribery, will both miss the match in Dortmund with mild injuries. Dortmund old-boy Mario Götze, who is back in intensive training and thought to be days away from availability, will also have to wait a little longer to make his debut with Bayern Munich.

'No B-team'

Dortmund have their own injury woes: Armenian record signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not available while Polish full back Lukasz Piszczek is unlikely to return to the pitch in time for the start of the Bundesliga season in two weeks. Jakub Blaszczykowski and another attacking addition, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are not ruled out yet but are doubtful for the game.

Nevertheless, Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc said "no B-team will be playing" in the club's home stadium on Saturday.

Coach Jürgen Klopp said he hoped his team "will get everything possible out of the game," while defensive rock Mats Hummels said he saw a chance to lift the team's spirits ahead of the coming season.

"We want to win against one of the best teams in the world, perhaps the best," Hummels said.

How it all began

Last season, Bayern won the curtain-raiser 2-1; the game served as a useful indicator for the season ahead. Striker Mario Mandzukic and winger Thomas Müller - both of whom played perhaps larger roles than expected in the Bavarians' treble-winning campaign - scored the goals as Bayern broke a five-match losing streak against Dortmund.

Mario Mandzukic celebrates scoring the opening goal in the German Supercup (12.08.2012) at the Allianz-Arena in Munich. (Photo: Andreas Gebert dpa/lby)

In last year's Supercup, Mario Mandzukic set the tone for his surprise season

From there, Bayern proceeded to personally dash Dortmund's dreams in every single competition available - winning the league by 25 points, eliminating Dortmund in the German Cup quarterfinals and crowning this with their Champions League final win over Klopp's team. On their fifth encounter of the season at Wembley stadium in London, 63 days ago, the score was identical to Bayern's 2-1 win when first they had met in the Supercup.

Up where the air is thin

After such a strong campaign and an active summer strengthening the squad yet further, Bayern's chairman Uli Hoeness warned against overconfidence going into the game.

"When you're right at the top, then the air can start to get thin," Hoeness told mass-circulation daily Bild on Friday. "We can't breathe in too much of that, this mountain air is our main opponent."

The comments also marked the latest chapter in a tit-for-tat exchange of off-season insults between the two German über-clubs, with Dortmund's management surely of the opinion that their team - not nebulous gas particles - constitute Bayern's main opponent.

Some 80,000 fans will cram Dortmund's stadium on Saturday evening, while fans from a total of 195 countries will have the chance to watch the symbolic start to the German soccer season on television.