All eyes will be on Harry Kane as he makes his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich at Werder Bremen, but there is another centre-forward who might just fancy a shot at top billing.
Kane-mania is all the rage in Germany after the England captain’s £100m switch from Tottenham to Bayern and Thomas Tuchel and the German giants’ army of fans will be expecting a swift return on their record-breaking investment.
Kane barely got a touch as a late sub in last Saturday’s Supercup defeat to Leipzig, but now comes the serious stuff and the pressure is on the 30-year-old to hit the ground running.
But Kane isn’t the only star striker ready to strut his stuff at the Weserstadion on the opening night of the German top-flight season, as Niclas Fullkrug is primed to prove his worth as well.
Bayern Munich probably couldn’t have hand-picked a more obliging opening-night opponent than Werder Bremen as they kick off the defence of their Bundesliga title, which was clinched for the 11th year in succession in dramatic circumstances in May.
Bremen have not beaten mighty Bayern since 2008 and of the last 25 meetings in league or cup action, the Bavarians have won 24 of them.
So there aren’t many who see Thomas Tuchel’s champs slipping up in Bremen against a Werder side who signed off 2022/23 with just one win in 12 and no clean sheets since February.
And with Ole Werner having struggled to bring in many new players – Naby Keita was one but the ex-Liverpool midfielder is injured – Kane and Bayern will be expecting to turn on the style and pile up the goals.
It’s highly likely Kane starts at the tip of an attack featuring Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman, a quartet which would frighten the life out of most Bundesliga defences.
But anyone who witnessed Leipzig take Bayern to the cleaners in last weekend’s Supercup might also be persuaded to believe that the German champs are more of a liability at the back than they have been for years, and that the first week of the season might not be a bad time to be taking them on.
And Werder Bremen know full well that they have a central striker in Niclas Fullkrug who is more than capable of flustering Bayern’s back four and is good value to find the net at anytime at 15/8.
Werner’s best piece of summer business was keeping hold of Fullkrug, who finished the previous campaign as the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorer on 15 goals, and he will once again be key to their survival prospects.
The 30-year-old German international marksman has now scored 34 league goals in his last two seasons and warmed up for this campaign with a goal in Bremen’s final pre-season contest against Viktoria Koln.