Guten tag! And welcome to Born Offside’s run down of Bundesliga ahead of the new campaign…

The most open and perhaps exciting league in Europe returns with Bayern Munich looking top overhaul champions Borussia Dortmund, while Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Schalke will also be aiming high.

Bayern's new stopper Manuel Neuer

Jupp Heynckes has returned to Bayern for his third stint in charge but knows that another season without a trophy will not be tolerated. In the pursuit of their 23rd Bundesliga crown, the Munich giants have added defensive reinforcements. First Brazilian full-back Rafinha joined from Schalke and Jerome Boateng returned to Germany after an ill-fated spell at Manchester City but most significantly superstar stopper Manuel Neuer has also joined from Schalke in a £22.5million move.

Despite underachieving last season Bayern still boast the strongest squad in German football with the talents of Breno, Luis Gustavo, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller. All-action forward Ivica Olic will also return after missing most of last season while 21-year-old playmaker Toni Kroos could make a big impact.

Dortmund star Mario Gotze is mobbed by his teammates

Champions Dortmund have lost star man Nuri Sahin but have retained most of last season’s squad. Playmaker Mario Gotze has emerged as one of Europes brightest young stars and supported by the talents of Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic in defense as well as Lucas Barrios and Shinji Kagawa in attack Dortmund will challenge again.

Leverkusen also have a decent shot at the title despite being the leagues perennial under-achievers. The potent attacking duo of Eren Derdiyok and Stefan Kiessling will be able supported by Michael Ballack, Tranquillo Barnetta, Renato Augusto and Simon Rolfes. Andre Schurrle has joined from Mainz and will add even more guile to Leverkusen’s forward play. Keeper Rene Adler may lack defensive cover that could again mean Leverkusen come up short.

Felix Magath has returned to Wolfsburg after leading Die Wolf to the title in 2009 but even he may find it difficult to transform the team back into title contenders. Schalke may also struggle to break into the top 3 but as their run to the Champion League Semi Finals prove they are capable despite the loss of Rafinha and Neuer to Bayern but Lewis Holtby has returned after a sensational spell at Mainz to provide dazzle on the flanks.

Hamburg's new technical director Frank Arnesen

Hamburg have begun rebuilding under the tutorlidge of new sporting director Frank Arnesen but after the loss of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Joris Mathijsen to Malaga this season will be a transitional period. Stuttgart will be buoyed by a late surge up the table last season but after finical difficulties another tough season may be in store. Werder Bremen also struggled last season and should expect a big improvement with the talents of Aaron Hunt and Marko Marin pushing the club on to a top six finish.

Last season’s over-achievers Mainz and Hannover will find it hard to replicate last season’s form but should be too good for a relegation scrap. Kaiserslautern finished seventh last term but may be in relegation trouble along with Freiburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bundesliga virgins Augsburg.

Verdict:

Champions: Bayern Munich

Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund

Relegation: Augsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach

 

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