Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer teamed up brilliantly to keep Borussia Dortmund breathing down Bayern Munich's neck right to the wire last season. Could this be the year Lucien Favre's men end the Bavarians' Bundesliga stranglehold?
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at what to expect from BVB…
Aims in 2019/20
“They won the double last year, so we tried to make a point,” said Sancho after Dortmund had done just that by taking the Supercup at Bayern's expense to kick off the 2019/20 campaign on a hugely positive note. "This might be our year!"
Players and fans always think that, but there is justifiable cause for Sancho's optimism, and more than just the fact Dortmund pushed Bayern so close last season.
As ever, Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc has moved cleverly in the summer transfer market. Christian Pulisic and Abdou Diallo departed, but Mats Hummels returned while Julian Brandt, Nico Schulz and Thorgan Hazard also arrived to give Favre upgraded options and add serious strength in depth to his squad.
That will be required to allow Dortmund to pursue their three-pronged ambitions home and abroad. Bundesliga title and the DFB Cup are trophies that — for a squad of their ability — are very much in their sights while a run beyond last season's achievement of the UEFA Champions League last 16 will also be in a target.
Player to watch
“He's a fantastic player, but he's still learning,” said Reus after Sancho's Supercup masterclass in which the England international terrorised the Bayern back four, teeing up the opening goal and scoring the second.
“Even the Bayern defenders were scared when he was on the ball, but there's nothing new there because he just has so much quality,” added Axel Witsel having seen Niklas Süle, Jerome Boateng et al run ragged by his young teammate.
Sancho was already very good last season. His total of 14 assists was a Bundesliga best, and if you add those to his 12 goals, he was involved in 26 of Dortmund's league strikes. That is one more than Reus had a hand in, and he was Germany's Footballer of the Year.
That honour is surely within Sancho's grasp if he continues to take the gargantuan strides he has made since joining Dortmund from Manchester City as a raw but immensely talented 17-year-old in 2017.
Sancho thinks this could be Dortmund's year. It also could be his.
Watch: Jadon Sancho's Bundesliga mixtape
IN: Paco Alcacer (Barcelona, loan deal made permanent), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Mateu Morey (Barcelona), Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim)
OUT: Dzenis Burnic (Dynamo Dresden, loan), Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint-Germain), Sergio Gomez (Huesca, loan), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Shinji Kagawa (Real Zaragoza), Felix Passlack (Fortuna Sittard, loan), Maximilian Philipp (Dynamo Moscow), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, end of loan), Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan deal made permanent), Andre Schürrle (Spartak Moscow, loan), Jeremy Toljan (U.S. Sassuolo, loan), Ömer Toprak (Werder Bremen, loan)
How they might line up
One of the wonders of the modern world, BVB’s Signal Iduna Park is a cathedral to football, and a place all football fans should journey to at least once in their life. Packed to its 81,365 capacity every game, it is Germany’s largest stadium and has the largest single terrace for standing supporters in Europe, with 24,454 filling its world-famous Südtribüne (south stand) to create the awe-inspiring ‘Yellow Wall’. Deafeningly loud and utterly awe-inspiring, the stadium is a Mecca for thousands of football fans visiting Germany, and also happens to be affordable. The club’s most expensive Bundesliga season ticket for 2019/20 is priced at just €759 ($865, £680), while the cheapest is only €219 ($249, £196).
Opened for the FIFA World Cup in 1974, the stadium, originally known as the Westfalenstadion, has been Dortmund’s home ever since the club outgrew their previous home. The arena hosted the 2001 UEFA Cup final and a further six matches at the 2006 World Cup. The ground is an unmissable landmark of the Dortmund skyline and the distinctive 62-metre-high yellow pylons atop the stadium can be seen for miles around.
Watch: Stadium Watch - Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park
First five fixtures
Matchday 1: Augsburg (h) – Saturday, 17 August, 3.30pm CEST
Matchday 2: Cologne (a) – Friday, 23 August, 8.30pm CEST
Matchday 3: Union Berlin (a) – Saturday, 31 August, 6.30pm CEST
Matchday 4: Leverkusen (h) – Saturday, 14 September, 3.30pm CEST
Matchday 5: Frankfurt (a) – Sunday, 22 September, 6pm CEST