Andy Brassell analyses the prospects for Germany's top flight. Can anyone stop Guardiola's mighty Bayern?
With Bayern reinforcing and looking to finally crack the Champions League under Pep, the Bundesliga looks a tough ask for the likes of Wolfsburg and the rest this year. But then again... Dortmund rebuild under Klopp successor Tuchel, while Schalke introduce a new coach too, in what's shaping up to be a fascinating season with plenty of new storylines emerging.
It all gets underway on Friday night as Bayern entertain Hamburger SV at the Allianz Arena (19.30 GMT) - so read on for all you need to know about the coming campaign, starting with a hat-trick of reasons to pay attention...
Three reasons why this season will be ace...
1) A younger Bayern Munich
CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said last season that the club’s plan was to deal with an ageing squad, and he has already proved to be as good as his word. Arturo Vidal (28 years old) and Douglas Costa (24) are the two big signings who should revitalise a creaking midfield, following the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger (31) and with Franck Ribéry (32) still struggling with injury.
The injury crisis that hampered the back end of last season accelerated the implementation of this, with Pep Guardiola’s men on their last legs during their valiant Champions League semi-final exit to Barcelona. Even if the Champions League is where improvement is more relevant, we might get an even higher-tempo Bayern in the Bundesliga. Eek.
2) Tuchel versus Breitenreiter: the new Revierderby
Even if the Champions League is where improvement is more relevant, we might get an even higher tempo Bayern in the Bundesliga
Jürgen Klopp might be missed but Borussia Dortmund are moving on, having hoovered up another Mainz alumnus, the fêted young coach Thomas Tuchel, as his replacement. Early signs are that his attention to detail will add tactical flexibility to a side that has badly needed it. The only good thing that could be said about regional rivals Schalke’s season last time out is that they finished above Dortmund. Under Roberto Di Matteo, underwhelming results combined with some atrocious football saw Die Königsblauen fall short of Champions League qualification. New boss André Breitenreiter’s doomed Paderborn played with bravery last season, which is the bare minimum at Schalke – particularly in the Revierderby.