The new German Bundesliga season begins tonight when Bayern take on Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern are again favourites to win the Bundesliga this year after their first campaign under Pep Guardiola which saw them clinching the title in record time.
However, they will be facing a strong challenge from traditional rivals, Borussia Dortmund, who have strengthened significantly since losing their start striker, Robert Lewandoski to the Bavarians.
Besides Lewandowski, Bayern have brought in squad-depth with Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt, Juan Bernat from Valencia and Pepe Reina from Liverpool.
However, the defending champions also lost Toni Kroos to Real Madrid, Mario Mandzukic to Atletico Madrid and Daniel Van Buyten to retirement. Javi Martinez has also been ruled out of action for several months following an ACL injury sustained in the German Supercup.
Dortmund, meanwhile, have had a strong summer, signing Nuri Sahin (whom they had on loan), Adrian Ramos, Matthias Ginter and Ciro Immobile to add strength their squad which was badly hurt by injuries to key players last season.
Elsewhere in the league, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen are expected to claim the remaining Champions League spots and Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Mainz will be expected to make up the rest of the top seven.
SC Paderborn, Cologne and Hamburger SV will fight with VfB Stuttgart and SC Freiburg for relegation in what will likely be an intense relegation battle this season.
Bayern will certainly not be cruising through to the title this season and will face a very stiff challenge from their closest rivals at the top of the table, but given their financial superiority, finishing anywhere other than in first place will be considered a shock and a failure on Pep Guardiola’s behalf.
They might struggle, though, in the first few weeks until their German World Cup stars have returned to full fitness. If Dortmund can take advantage of this situation, they might be able to test Bayern more than throughout the previous season.
Bayern host Wolfsburg at 20:30 tonight, with Dortmund hosting Bayer Leverkusen at 18:30 on Saturday.
Who do you think will win this season’s Bundesliga? Have your say in the comments section below.