Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will not be able to field first-choice teams in the German Super Cup at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday, but the ongoing dispute between the two clubs has added some prestige to the once-neglected season-opener in Germany.
A month to the day since Germany's triumph at the 2014 World Cup, reigning Bundesliga and DFB Pokal winners Bayern and Dortmund -- runners-up in both competitions -- battle for the first domestic title of the new campaign at the latter's home ground.
However, the capacity crowd of over 80,000 fans will not see all of the 11 World Cup winners spread out across the two squads. Dortmund's sole key player in Brazil, Mats Hummels, is rested following minor injury problems and Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger did not make the trip to the Ruhr area.
Local Dortmund paper Ruhr Nachrichten predicted that only Kevin Grosskreutz and newly signed Matthias Ginter will be in BVB's starting formation, while Bild reports that only Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller played in the starting formation during the final, and secret, Bayern training session on Tuesday.
The Super Cup has been fired up by an extensive exchange of arguments between the two club boards, but, on the field, the 2014 World Cup has led to some unusual friendships between players from both clubs. Still, Bayern Munich keeper Neuer, who came through the ranks of Dortmund's local rivals Schalke, expects a rough reception.
"That's just part of it," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I'd somehow miss it if the stands remain silent.
"The duel against our big rival is immensely important. We lost [the Super Cup] last season [4-2, which remained Bayern's sole domestic defeat until April 2014, when Augsburg beat them 1-0]. We now want the title back."
According to Bild, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola will be starting with a 3-4-3 formation, which Bayern tested for major parts of the preseason, and which had already been successful when Munich beat Dortmund 2-0 in the DFB-Pokal final in May.
"Tactically we'll play like in the DFB-Pokal final," the paper quotes the Catalan coach as saying.
It will also be Robert Lewandowski's first return to the Westfalenstadion following his summer switch to the Allianz Arena.
"It will be a special match for Robert first and foremost," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told Ruhr Nachrichten. "He had wonderful years with us, and we had wonderful years with him. But we are not getting caught up with what has been. We are looking into the future and need to find other solutions now."