Bengaluru FC kick-starts the defence of their title they won in March this year with a season-opener against NorthEast United at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Monday evening (IST).
But the Blues will be fighting against the history as no team has ever managed to defend its title either in the Indian Super League or in the I-League. That said, the champions are the odds-on favourite to win the title this year as well.
NorthEast United, meanwhile, will seek another strong campaign and hope to go one step further this time around. The Highlanders will also look to avenge the last season's defeat in the playoffs against the same opponent.
A lot has changed though this season. Both the teams will head into the new season with a relatively new roster, NorthEast especially as they are under new management as well.
NorthEast head coach Robert Jarni looked in confident mood ahead of the first fixture against the defending champions.
“It is a difficult league. You have to play every single team away. There is no good or bad team to start with. You have to go up against everyone eventually. We have to win maximum games if we are to finish in the top four,” Jarni said.
The Indian Super League match will be played between Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru FC. The ground has a capacity of 25,810.
The game will start at 07:30 PM (IST), on Monday, October 21.
Where can you watch the match live?
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Recent form (Last six matches)
This is the first game for both the teams this season.
Bengaluru FC Team News:
Bengaluru FC will go into the new season without one of the stars of the last season in Miku. The 34-year-old Venezuelan left the club in the off-season, eventually signing for Cypriot club AC Omonia. He will certainly be missed considering he and Sunil Chhetri seemed to have a telepathic partnership upfront.
But the Blues added Indian star Ashique Kuruniyan to their roster, who also become the most expensive signing in ISL, as Bengaluru paid 88 Thousand Euros to now folded FC Pune City. The 22-year-old is expected to play a huge role this season due to the departure of Miku. Chhetri will play more centrally as a result with Udanta Kumam on the right-wing.
New arrivals: Bengaluru also added the following players to their 2019-20 roster: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Manuel Onwu, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Suresh Wangjam, Raphael Augusto
In terms of departure, the following players left the club: Robinson Khumukcham, Soram Anganba, Asheer Akhtar, Myron Mendes, Bidyananda, Xisco Hernandez, Altamash Sayed, Miku, Boithang Haokip, Alex Barrera, Luisima Villa, Chencho Gyltshen
What to expect from Bengaluru FC:
A good solid season. Bengaluru FC have set the benchmark for every other club in India for their utter professionalism both on and off the pitch. No wonder the club has enjoyed huge success in a relatively short life. The squad is strong as well, with some exciting young Indian players looking to make their mark. The backline is solid, with Bheke and Serran almost impeccable at the back. The Blues will be hard to get over.
Bengaluru FC squad for the 2019-20 ISL season:
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Aditya Patra, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill
Defenders: Rahul Bheke, Rino Anto, Juanan, Sairuat Kima, Nishu Kumar, Albert Serran, Gursimrat Singh Gill
Midfielders: Raphael Augusto, Harmanjot Khabra, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Suresh Wangjam, Ajay Chhetri, Udanta Kumam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Kean Lewis, Leon Asokan
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Manuel Onwu, Sembi Haokip, Parag Satish Shrivas, Edmund Lalrindika
Bengaluru FC Probable XI:
To be updated!
NorthEast United FC Team News:
NorthEast United perhaps made the biggest signing this season as they roped in Asamoah Gyan for this season. Gyan has a very good CV, having played in the Premier League for Sunderland, also representing Ghana in the FIFA World Cup. Expect the Highlanders to get more respect from their opponents this season.
The 33-year-old Ghanian has come in as a direct replacement for Bartholomew Ogbeche and is definitely a better player than him.
New arrivals: Milan Singh, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Rakesh Pradhan, Alfred Lalroutsang, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Lalengmawia, Ninthoi Meetei, Soram Anganba, Kai Heerings, Federico Gallego, Wayne Vaz, Martin Chaves, Maximiliano Barreiro.
Following players left NorthEast United in the offseason: Keegan Pereira, Janeiler Rivas, Bartholomew Ogbeche, TP Rehenesh, Rowllin Borges, Juan Cruz Mascia, Mato Grgic, Seitayasen Singh, Rupert Nongrum, Gurmeet Singh
NorthEast United squad for the 2019-20 ISL season:
Goalkeepers: Soram Poirei, Pawan Kumar, Subhasish Roy
Defenders: Nim Dorjee, Pawan Kumar, Provat Lakra, Kai Heerings, Reagan Singh, Mislav Komorski, Rakesh Pradhan, Shouvik Ghosh, Wayne Vaz
Midfielders: Lalrempuia Fanai, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Alfred Lalruotsang, Jose Leudo, Ninthoi, Lalengmawia, Milan Singh, Nikhil Kadam, Panagiatis Triadis, Redeem Tlang
Forwards: Maximiliano Barreiro, Asamoah Gyan, Martin Chaves
NorthEast United Probable XI:
To be updated!
Likely to score:
Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:
Sunil Chhetri – The Indian superstar needs no introduction.
Asamoah Gyan – A proven player at the very top level. Has the record of scoring the most goal in the World Cup by the African player (six goals).
NEUFC vs BFC Dream11 potential winner:
Bengaluru FC boasted the best home record in ISL last season and start the new campaign in front of home fans. The Blues are favorite in this match.