Bayern Munich look likely to begin their Bundesliga campaign with a bang, while Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund revolution begins with a stern examination against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Runaway Bundesliga winners in each of the last three seasons, Pep Guardiola’s side begin the 2015-16 campaign at home to Hamburg.
Bayern enjoy an aggregate scoreline of 32-3 from six successive home wins against Friday’s season-opening opponents in league action and the ongoing malaise around ‘The Dino’ points to another thumping.
Bruno Labbadia rescued Hamburg from relegation in last season’s play-offs, but is immediately under pressure, having overseen DFB-Pokal elimination at the hands of fourth-tier Carl Zeiss Jena.
Though the start of Bayern’s campaign appears easy to predict, that of those seen as their strongest rivals is anything but, especially given two – Dortmund and Gladbach – begin their season against each other.
On the surface, Tuchel has changed little from the Dortmund squad that capitulated so spectacularly under Jurgen Klopp – Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus remain the team’s key figures.
Glimpses of the high-octane style that earned Tuchel plaudits at Mainz came through in a 5-0 UEFA Europa League win against Wolfsberger, but Gladbach are an established force under Lucien Favre.
Germany striker Max Kruse’s departure for Wolfsburg is offset by the arrivals of midfield goalscoring threats in Lars Stindl and the permanent capture of Thorgan Hazard, while Josip Drmic – signed after a dismal season at Bayer Leverkusen – will hope to recapture his 2013-14 best, which returned 17 goals in a relegated Nuremberg side.
Though boosted by Kruse, Wolfsburg are expected to lose creative powerhouse Kevin De Bruyne before the transfer window closes, their season plans subsequently remaining up in the air before hosting Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
A tweaked Leverkusen outfit host Hoffenheim on Saturday, while Franco Di Santo makes an immediate return to Werder Bremen when Schalke head to the Weserstadion.
Bundesliga new boys Ingolstadt and Darmstadt will hope to begin their seasons with results befitting of their respective fairytale ascents to the top flight.
Neither were among the promotion favourites in the 2.Bundesliga this time last year, but Germany’s youngest professional club – Ingolstadt – won the second-tier title before Darmstadt followed them up on the final day, securing a first return to the Bundesliga since 1982 – in which time the club has fallen into insolvency and been reborn.
Ingolstadt take their first steps as a Bundesliga club at Mainz, while Darmstadt host a Hannover side that struggled last term and has since been shorn of their best player, Stindl.
Last season’s surprise package Augsburg start their season at home to Hertha Berlin, while Cologne and Stuttgart round off the opening fixtures at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
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