Get your previews & Predictions on German Bundesliga, as best 18 football teams battle around.
Bayern Munich have been simply unstoppable in the Bundesliga in recent years, and the Bavarian giants will bid to extend their own record of five consecutive German titles this season.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side romped to the title last season, once again, with RB Leipzig proving to be their nearest challengers in their first season in the top flight.
In a season characterised by big teams under-performing, Borussia Dortmund were third but the rest of the league was almost turned on its head last season.
That means several big teams without European commitments to worry about this season, and Schalke 04, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen will all look to bounce back this season.
But while that could mean the battle for the top three is an enthralling one, Bayern Munich have been a cut above their rivals in recent years – and it is hard to imagine them not winning yet another Bundesliga title this season.
Bayern Munich were top of the Bundesliga for all but three weeks of last season, and after reclaiming top spot from RB Leipzig on matchday 14 they never surrendered it for the rest of the year.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team were 15 points clear of newly-promoted Leipzig by the end of the season after the two shared in a nine-goal thriller, which the champions won 5-4, at the back-end of the campaign.
Die Roten lost just twice all season, and scored 89 times in 34 games, conceding just 22 times.
RB Leipzig’s rise from obscurity has split opinion in Germany, with the influence of sponsors Red Bull leaving a sour taste for some, while a new challenger at the top of the Bundesliga has excited others.
They were second, three points clear of Borussia Dortmund – despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 31 goals – and will therefore make their Champions League debuts this season.
Hoffenheim also finished in the top four – they were 13 points clear of fifth place, while only 12 points separated fifth from 16th.
Koln, Hertha Berlin and newly-promoted SC Freiburg qualified for the Europa League, meaning Werder Bremen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen all had to settle for mid-table obscurity.
Indeed, Leverkusen were just four points clear of the relegation play-off, while there were other big teams who fared even worse – Hamburg finishing just one point clear of that play-off, which 2009 champions Wolfsburg had to win over two legs against Eintracht Braunschweig.
FC Ingolstadt and Darmstadt 98 were the two teams to suffer relegation, with VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 returning to the top flight at the first attempt in their place.
Here’s the full Bundesliga 2016/17 table:
Former Ajax boss Peter Bosz has joined Borussia Dortmund for the new season, replacing Thomas Tuchel in the Dortmund dug-out – one of four managerial changes for the new season.
Disappointing seasons also cost Markus Weinzierl (Schalke 04) and Martin Schmidt (Mainz 05) their jobs, with little-known 31-year-old Domenico Tedesco a surprise appointment for the former.
Tedesco kept Erzgebirge Aue in the second tier last season in his first senior management role, before the Royal Blues continued the recent trend for young managers in the Bundesliga.
Mainz 05, meanwhile, will be led by Sandro Schwarz this season, and Heiko Herrlich has been appointed Bayer Leverkusen boss after leading Jahn Regensburg to promotion from the third tier last season.
VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 are back in the Bundesliga after a year’s absence, replacing FC Ingolstadt and Darmstadt 98 in the top flight for the new season.
Champions Bayern Munich have been busy this summer, splashing the cash to land midfielder Corentin Tolisso from Lyon for €41.5m and defender Niklas Sule from Hoffenheim for €20m.
They have also agreed a two-year loan deal for James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, as Carlo Ancelotti rebuilds a squad hit by the retirements of Xabi Alonso and German legend Philipp Lahm.
Borussia Dortmund have forked out for Maximilian Philipp for €20m from Freiburg, Omer Toprak from Leverkusen for €12m and Mahmoud Dahoud for €12m from Monchengladbach, meanwhile, but more importantly last season’s top goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains their player for the time being.
RB Leipzig have also, so far, managed to keep the bulk of their squad together after last year’s second place, with the club resisting gargantuan transfer bids from Liverpool for Naby Keita.
They have also strengthened this summer, with Jean-Kevin Augustin, Konrad Laimer and Bruma all signing.
Other big-money moves include Jhon Cordoba’s switch from Mainz 05 to Koln, while Wolfsburg have spent a reported €45m on new signings as they totally overhaul their squad following last season’s 16th place.
Ignacio Camacho, for €10m from Malaga, Landry Dimata, for €10m from Oostende, and John Anthony Brooks for €17m from Hertha Berlin are among their biggest signings.
It is hard to see past Bayern Munich winning yet another title in 2017/18, for what would be their sixth in a row, but the table could be very open below them.
Borussia Dortmund, with a new manager at the helm, will expect to finish in the top two, and at least push Bayern more than they were last season.
However, several teams – Schalke 04, with Domenico Tedesco in charge, amongst them – will look to return to the top four next season.
The Royal Blues have no European commitments to sidetrack them this season, and neither do Borussia Monchengladbach or Bayer Leverkusen – all of whom will expect to return to the top six despite the fierce competition they will face.
RB Leipzig may have been runners-up last season, but the added commitments of European football will stretch their squad and a top-four place – and more Champions League football – should be their aim.
Hannover 96 are favourites to go back down, but Wolfsburg should be nowhere near the drop zone after their heavy investment this summer.
Instead, Mainz 05, Augsburg and newly-promoted VfB Stuttgart will all be looking over their shoulders – the latter’s reputation means they have long odds to go down, but their 2007 title win is ancient history now.
Bayern Munich are huge favourites for a sixth consecutive title and you will find little value betting on the defending champions – they are 1/7 to win the Bundesliga yet again with Bet365 and Betfair.
Given the likelihood of a really open season behind them, however, there is still plenty to look at when it comes to Bundesliga outright betting.
Borussia Dortmund, having strengthened in the summer and appointed Peter Bosz as manager, are a best price of 8/11 with Bet365 and Ladbrokes to be the best-placed team without Bayern Munich.
RB Leipzig were second last year, and have done well to retain their star players, but with Champions League commitments for the first time they may find a second consecutive second-place a step too far.
Nevertheless, they are a reasonable 1/2 to finish in the top four with Bet365, to secure Champions League football again for next season.
Hoffenheim took the final Champions League spot last season, but Schalke, Monchengladbach, Leverkusen and even Wolfsburg have strengthened considerably this summer.
None are involved in Europe at all, meaning all their focus will be on a top four spot, and Schalke are 7/2 to finish in the top four with Bet365.
At the other end of the table, Wolfsburg have spent a lot of money to avoid a repeat of last season’s relegation play-off, and they should do exactly that.
Newly-promoted Hannover are favourites for the drop again, at 11/8 with Bet365, while Mainz 05 – who finished 15th last season – are 15/8 to go down.
Augsburg also flirted with the drop zone last season, before rallying to say up in 14th place – they are a best price of 11/4 to go down with Bet365.
Winner: Bayern Munich
Top four: Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, RB Leipzig
Relegated: Hannover 96, Mainz 05