The anticipation has already started, but the real business of battling for the Bundesliga title will start with the opening game on 18 August.

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It will be the 16th time the reigning champions kick off their title defence with a stand-alone, showpiece match, and if their recent history is anything to go by, last season's table-toppers Bayern Munich will serve up a Matchday 1 stunner.

2016: Bayern Munich 6–0 Werder Bremen

Werder Bremen fans look away now! A night of utter despair for the Green-Whites, one of sheer delight for Bayern who gave new coach Carlo Ancelotti a winning start with the biggest-ever opening game triumph. Xabi Alonso's breathtaking opener set the bar high for 2016/17, Robert Lewandowski did likewise in the Torjägerkanone race with a hat-trick while Philipp Lahm's last Bundesliga goal was more than a mere footnote.

2015: Bayern Munich 5–0 Hamburg

Despite their regional rivalry, Hamburg fans must have had some sympathy for their Bremen counterparts having been on the receiving end of a commanding Bayern performance 12 months earlier. Once Medhi Benatia had gotten Bayern moving in the first half, Thomas Müller and a Lewandowski brace sqiftly took the game away from the visitors as Pep Guardiola's men produced an imperious display. On his Bundesliga debut, Douglas Costa killed off the Bundesliga's only ever-present club with a fifth as Bayern laid down an early marker for their title rivals.

2012: Borussia Dortmund 2–1 Werder Bremen

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Mario Götze scored the winner for Dortmund as they defeated Bremen on opening night 2012.

The opening game to the 50th Bundesliga season was one befitting such an occasion. Though Marco Reus, freshly signed from Borussia Mönchengladbach, gave the reigning champions an early lead in front of a fervent 80,000-strong SIGNAL IDUNA PARK crowd, a talented Bremen side featuring Kevin De Bruyne, Eljero Elia, Zlatko Junuzovic and Marko Arnautovic proved devilishly difficult opponents. The latter provided the cross from which Theodor Gebre Selassie scored a deserved equaliser, but Mario Götze came off the bench to secure Jürgen Klopp's men their first three points of the season at the first attempt.

2010: Bayern Munich 2–1 Wolfsburg

Bastian Schweinsteiger's (l.) late winner got Bayern's 2010/11 season off to a winning start.

There was greater drama still in the 2010/11 opener, which featured the last two teams to lift the Meisterschale. Bayern were unable to build on Thomas Müller's very early opener, and after regrouping at half-time, Wolfsburg — 2008/09 champions — managed to equalise through Edin Dzeko. With seconds left, however, Bayern icon Bastian Schweinsteiger struck to give the champions all three points. 

2008: Bayern Munich 2–2 Hamburg

Schweinsteiger was on target also in the 2008 opener, but Bayern were pegged back for a 2-2 draw by Hamburg.

Schweinsteiger and his friend Lukas Podolski were both on the scoresheet in this game, giving Bayern what looked to be a healthy two-goal lead. But they left sickened by two men who had previously played for them, Jose Paolo Guerrero and Piotr Trochowski, both of whom found the net to ensure Hamburg a share of the spoils, and leave this match as the last opening game to end in a draw. 

Opening-day games at a glance*

2016: Bayern Munich 6–0 Werder Bremen

2015: Bayern Munich 5–0 Hamburg

2014: Bayern Munich 2–1 Wolfsburg

2013: Bayern Munich 3–1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

2012: Borussia Dortmund 2–1 Werder Bremen

2011: Borussia Dortmund 3–1 Hamburg

2010: Bayern Munich 2–1 Wolfsburg

2009: Wolfsburg 2–0 Stuttgart

2008: Bayern Munich 2–2 Hamburg

2007: Stuttgart 2–2 Schalke

2006: Bayern Munich 2–0 Borussia Dortmund

2005: Bayern Munich 3–0 Borussia Mönchengladbach

2004: Werder Bremen 1–0 Schalke

2003: Bayern Munich 3–1 Eintracht Frankfurt

2002: Borussia Dortmund 2–2 Hertha Berlin

*since the defending champions have started the new season with a Friday night fixture.

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