​​Bayern Munich begin their quest to win an seventh consecutive Bundesliga title when they host Hoffenheim on Friday.


New manager Niko Kovac got his Bayern tenure off to a winning start as the German champions thrashed his former team Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Super Cup the other week, and they followed it up with a narrow win in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.


Hoffenheim are entering their final season under the stewardship of Julian Nagelsmann, before the highly-rated young coach takes over at RB Leipzig next summer. Nagelsmann steered Hoffenheim to 3rd last season, their highest ever league finish.


Hoffenheim were one of just four teams to beat Bayern in the league last season - can they repeat that feat on Friday?


Classic Encounter
Bayern Muenchen v 1899 Hoffenheim - Bundesliga

Bayern Munich 3-3 Hoffenheim (29 March 2014)


Bayern Munich had beaten Hoffenheim in all five of their previous meetings at the Allianz Arena before they came unstuck in this classic encounter in the 2013/14 season.


Bayern had already clinched the title with seven games to spare and they seemed to be running on autopilot when Anthony Modeste gave Hoffenheim the lead after 23 minutes.


However, it looked as if it would be another routine afternoon for Bayern when three goals in the space of nine minutes gave them a comfortable lead. Claudio Pizarro scored twice either side of a Xherdan Shaqiri strike to put Pep Guardiola's side in control.


However, Sejad Salihovic's free kick reduced the arrears on the stroke of half time before Roberto Firmino levelled the scores 15 minutes from time to earn Hoffenheim a share of the spoils.


Team News

SV Drochtersen-Assel v Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup

Niko Kovac fielded a strong team against Frankfurt in the German Super Cup and is likely to stick with a similar, if not the exact same, lineup on Friday. That means Manuel Neuer will make his first Bundesliga appearance since September 2017.


The big question is whether we will see James Rodriguez. The Colombian has not been in the squad for Kovac's first two games in charge due to injury but could make his return on Friday. David Alaba has shaken off an injury of his own to be fully fit.


Hoffenheim's only major loss over the summer was the free transfer of Mark Uth to Schalke, but they have brought in several new signings who could get the nod at the Allianz Arena, including Vincenzo Grifo and Leonardo Bittencourt in midfield.


Andrej Kramaric may miss out with a knee injury, so Joelinton could be given a start after scoring a hat-trick in last weekend's 6-1 win over Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal.


Potential Starting Lineups


Bayern Munich (4-1-2-3): Neuer; Alaba, Sule, Hummels, Kimmich; Martinez; Muller, Tolisso; Ribery, Lewandowski, Robben


Hoffenheim (5-3-2): Baumann; Schultz, Bicakcic, Akpoguma, Vogt, Kaderabek; Bittencourt, Zuber, Grifo; Szalai, Joelinton


Prediction
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Muenchen - DFL Supercup 2018

Not since the 2011/12 season have Bayern failed to start their season with a victory. Indeed, they have made light work of their first fixture in recent years, scoring 14 goals in their last three opening matches.


Hoffenheim face an almost impossible task to replicate last season's achievements, although a win at the Allianz Arena would certainly start them off on the right foot. However, they have never won away against Bayern, and lost 5-2 here last season.


Indeed, there is generally a guarantee of goals when these two sides meet - between them, they've shared 61 goals in their 20 meetings at an average of 3.05 per match. It should be entertaining fare once again, but the champions are likely to have too much for their visitors.


Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Hoffenheim