On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund will take on Bayern Munich in the legendary DFL-Supercup, whilst on Sunday Wembley will play host to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in the FA Community Shield.
With the start of the English Premier League and Bundesliga season on the horizon, these two matches provide you with an ideal opportunity to test out your bitcoin betting picks.
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich
August 3rd - 20:30 UTC
They are two of the strongest teams in Germany right now, but it’s Bayern Munich who seem to have a firm hold over the DFL-Supercup. They’ve been crowned champions for three years running, but whether they can emerge as winners again is up for debate.
Despite their domestic success last season, things haven’t been smooth sailing for Bayern behind the scenes. Manager Niko Kovac was threatened with dismissal following his side’s exit from the Champions League Round of 16, and still has a lot to prove to both the board and the German media.
But with a major squad overhaul pending, replicating the victories of years gone by may be more of a struggle for Kovac’s men than ever before. Not only have club legends Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery hung up their boots for good, but both James Rodriguez and Mats Hummels have also left the Allianz Arena over the summer.
With four key players therefore gone, the summer transfer market had the potential to be hugely exciting for Bayern. But a lack of activity has fuelled concerns of an under-developed squad, with Benjamin Parvard and Lucas Hernandez the only signings so far.
And whilst rumours surrounding Manchester City’s Leroy Sane continue to circulate, it’s unlikely that the forward would start on Saturday, even if he does sign with Bayern this week. His pace and creativity are the qualities we expect the reigning champions to lack this weekend, especially as they come up against a team that has spent nearly £128 million on reinforcements this summer.
Alongside the returning Mats Hummels, Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Palo Alcacer have also joined the club, and - if their pre-season victories are anything to go by - the newly reformed Borussia Dortmund squad looks ready to shake things up, starting on Saturday.
Back Borussia Dortmund to win.
Liverpool v Manchester City
August 4th - 15:00 UTC
After one of the closest title races in years, fans of both Manchester City and Liverpool will be itching for the new season to begin. And what better way to kick things off than with a head to head battle in the FA Community Shield. It’s a chance for both teams to make a statement, and set the tone for what we’re sure will be another intensely competitive season.
City have good form on the domestic front, winning the treble last season and maintaining their status as England’s soccer giants. But it would be wrong to underestimate Liverpool, as Barcelona so cruelly learnt earlier this year. The Reds are the champions of Europe for a reason, and after missing out on the 2018/19 EPL title by a mere margin - you can be certain they’ll be hungrier than ever this year.
Who deals the first psychological blow in this arduous battle will therefore be close to call. City have had a relatively quiet transfer window so far, with Spanish left-back Angelino and central-midfielder Rodri the club’s most notable signings this summer. Both have impressed manager Pep Guardiola with their performances over the past few weeks, and could potentially feature in this Sunday’s game.
If Liverpool’s pre-season matches are anything to go by, City’s newcomers won’t feel hugely threatened. Jurgen Klopp’s men have looked uncharacteristically lethargic and shaky at the back during their three defeats against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli, with the midfield still lacking the creativity needed to create solid chances in the box.
The club has also had a quiet summer when it comes to transfers, signing only Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott so far. The failure to strengthen the squad further may give existing players the chance to prove themselves to the Liverpool boss, but - as pre-season has shown - the current standard doesn’t seem to live up to expectations.
That being said, the Reds have been without half their first team for their entire pre-season run. And so whilst the ability of their fringe players may be a cause for concern, the return of Salah, Firmino, Alisson, Keita and Shaqiri this week will surely provide some reassurance for the manager and fans alike.
However, it’s Mane’s absence that may prove to unsettle Liverpool the most. The player isn’t due back at training until after the Community Shield because of his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations final with Senegal less than two weeks ago, and his presence is one that will be hugely missed - especially against City.
For that reason, as well as the fact that Liverpool simply haven’t had enough time together as a team during the summer, expect City to start off the year with some silverware.
Back Manchester City to win.