Germany's top teams have been busy strengthening over the summer and Goal takes a look at how they will compete over the next nine monthsBy Enis Koylu
The next season of the Bundesliga begins in just two days and all of the biggest clubs in Germany have been busy strengthening their squad in the three months since the curtain was closed on the last edition, which Bayern Munich, again, won at a canter.
Each season brings with it new innovations as the top clubs look to get one up on their rivals in the title race and Goal is here to give you the lowdown on how all of the biggest clubs within the top flight will be lining up between now and May.
The coming campaign is a big one for Bayer Leverkusen after they started brightly last term, only to fall away badly after Christmas, eventually costing Sami Hyypia his job. They have several new faces to mount a better challenge but Bernd Leno's place in goal will not be compromised.
Wendell, a Brazilian left-back and central defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos will slot into the back four alongside Giulio Donati and Omer Toprak, now established members of the team.
New coach Roger Schmidt is expected to field something of a 4-4-2, with new star signing Hakan Calhanoglu on the right of midfield and key man Son Heung-Min on the left, either side of Lars Bender and Simon Rolfes.
Another new signing, Josip Drmic, will start up front, alongside Stefan Kiessling, who has started the season amid a flurry of goals.
Once again, Pep Guardiola is widely expected to innovate his system ahead of the new season and is set to move away from the trusted four-man back line and field three defenders in front of Manuel Neuer. The goalkeeper picks himself, despite the arrival of Pepe Reina for added competition.
Jerome Boateng and David Alaba are due to line up either side of Dante, though Javi Martinez would have been hopeful of playing in the central role were it not for his anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Supercup game against Dortmund.
They will get greater defensive solidity from Rafinha and new addition Juan Bernat's deployment on either side of a four-man midfield, with Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger manning the centre of the park, though the latter will start the season injured, giving a chance to the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The front three more or less pick themselves, with Arjen Robben on the right, Franck Ribery on the left and new signing Robert Lewandowski through the middle, though they will have stiff competition from Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Xherdan Shaqiri and more besides.
By contrast, Jurgen Klopp will stick with the tried and tested formula at Borussia Dortmund after another season of solidification last term. Perhaps the biggest change to the squad, though, is the presence of greater depth and competition for places.
Roman Weidenfeller is a safe pair of hands in goal, and the first-choice back four will be the same as ever, with Lukasz Piszczek on the right, Marcel Schmelzer on the left (subject to Erik Durm's continued rise) and Mats Hummels alongside the fit-again Neven Subotic. However, the two centre-backs have company in the form of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and new signing Matthias Ginter, who will both challenge for a place.
Ilkay Gundogan's long-awaited return from injury is not far off, but Nuri Sahin is the fitter player and more likely to start alongside Sven Bender. Ahead of them, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will pull the strings, flanked on either side by Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus, but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pushing them hard.
The only real change to the first-choice XI, of course, comes up front, with Ciro Immobile signed from Torino to fill the void left by Lewandowski's exit and Adrian Ramos as back-up after his arrival from Hertha Berlin.
Borussia Monchengladbach's major change comes in goal, with Yann Sommer signed from Basel to replace Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who moved on to Barcelona to replace Victor Valdes in the summer.
Julian Korb made strides into the first team last term and is expected to continue at right-back, with Tony Jantschke slotting it at centre-back alongside Martin Stranzl, with Oscar Wendt on the left-hand side. Club captain Filip Daems no longer has time on his side and will fill a bench role.
Patrick Herrmann has remained once more and will provide the main threat down the right wing, with Ibrahima Traore on the other side thanks to Juan Arango's exit. Solidity in the centre of the park will come from World Cup winner Christoph Kramer and the Norway international Havard Nordtveit.
The front line will be much the same, with Max Kruse supported by Raffael.
Ralf Fahrmann is one of the more amazing comeback stories in football in recent years. Frozen out a year ago, he sealed his status as first choice with a string of fine performances at the end of the season.
The back four is very settled, with Atsuto Uchida on the right, Saed Kolasinac on the left and Benedikt Howedes and Joel Matip in the midde. They will be far more assured of game time after Kyriakos Papadopoulos' exit on loan to Leverkusen.
They will be protected by the well-oiled axis of Roman Neustadter and Kevin-Prince Boateng, with Jefferson Farfan, Julian Draxler and Max Meyer providing the main source of creativity behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who will be desperate to stay fit for the whole season.
Wolfsburg missed out on the top four last year by a hair's breadth but many of the same faces will be there once more for the fight for the Champions League places. Diego Benaglio will retain the gloves in goal after performing well for club and country over the last 12 months.
At right-back, we have a new face in the form of Sebastian Jung, signed this summer from Eintracht Frankfurt. Robin Knoche will look to cement his reputation as one of the finest young centre-backs in Germany next to Naldo, with Ricardo Rodriguez at left-back.
Luiz Gustavo is likely to be partnered by Junior Malanda in the deep-lying midfield positions following the Belgian's productive loan spell at Zulte last term, with Vieirinha, Maximilian Arnold and Kevin de Bruyne behind Ivica Olic, much like in the last half of 2013-14.
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