Traditional rivals Ahly and Zamalek will be looking to make an early statement of intent when they meet in the Egyptian Super Cup in Alexandria on Friday as the new season gets underway.
Zamalek are eager to avenge a bitter Egyptian Premier League loss to Ahly last term, having surrendered an eight-point lead to allow their Cairo foes to snatch a fourth straight title from under their noses.
There was still room for consolation as Zamalek saved their domestic campaign by winning the Egypt Cup, producing a superb attacking display to crush Pyramids FC 3-0 in the final.
They have also made a number of high-profile signings in the summer to challenge the hegemony of Ahly, bringing in the likes of Moroccan duo Achraf Bencharki and Mohamed Ounajem.
Fan Favourite Mahmoud Shikabala, a veteran winger, also returned to the club after ending brief loan spells in Saudi Arabia and Greece and he quickly reminded the supporters of his worth by producing several impressive displays.
Bencharki also shone in a playmaking role, with his double against Pyramids securing the Egypt Cup triumph.
Ahly have been quieter in the transfer window but still strengthened their squad by signing defender Mahmoud Metwalli and midfielder Magdi Afsha. However, they will be short of key defender Ayman Ashraf, who is ruled out due to suspension.
The Red Devils will also miss Moroccan striker Walid Azaro because of a knee injury.
The Super Cup, which is featuring Ahly as the 2018 league champions and Zamalek as the cup winners, was due to be played last year but was not held due to a packed domestic schedule. Both sides will also meet in another Super Cup at a yet-to-be-determined date.
Ahly and Zamalek will enjoy limited fan support in the Cairo derby for the first time since their African Champions League meeting in 2013.
Up to 10,000 fans will be allowed to attend the match at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, with each side allocated 5,000 seats. The game will be officiated by German referee Felix Brych.
Ahly are the record winners of the Super Cup with 10 titles, seven clear of Zamalek.
Egyptian Super Cup winners since the competition was first introduced in 2001 until 2017.
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