Here we take a look at the Bundesliga's mixed bag - the six teams that could go either way come May...
Augsburg will be looking to a season of top-flight consolidation, having successfully avoided an immediate return to the second tier last term. Taking over from Jos Luhukay - the man who took the Bavarians from the brink of third division relegation to the Bundesliga in the space of two years - coach Markus Weinzierl clearly has some big boots to fill and has been quick to put his own stamp on things in preparation for Saturday's opener against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Attacking duo Aristide Bance and Knowledge Musona excelled in the routine DFB Cup win over Wilhelmshaven, while Andreas Ottl brings invaluable experience to a side that last season finished 14th on 38 points, seven clear of the drop zone. Ja-Cheol Koo (VfL Wolfsburg, loan), Jan Moravek (Schalke 04), Kevin Vogt (VfL Bochum), Ragnar Klavan (AZ Alkmaar). Milan Petrzela (Viktoria Plzen), Giovanni Sio (VfL Wolfsburg, loan) have also come in, with Augsburg suffering just one defeat in nine pre-season outings.
Following the promotion euphoria of 2011/12, Eintracht Frankfurt were brought back down to earth with a bump at the weekend - falling to Erzgebirge Aue in the first round of the DFB Cup. Granted, they played most of the match with ten men, but it's a nevertheless confidence-denting defeat that Armin Veh's side could have done without ahead of Saturday's opening day clash with Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Still, until then, they'd been banging in goals for fun during pre-season, and also managed a noteworthy 1-1 draw against one of the Premier League's toughest nuts to crack, Stoke City. The arrival of Canadian striker Olivier Occean should offset the loss of Mohamadou Idrissou to 1. FC Kaiserslautern, and it's his ability to find the net on as regular a basis as he did in Bundesliga 2 (17 goals in 31 appearances) that could prove the difference between survival and the drop.
There's been somewhat of an exodus from the Weser Stadion, with the losses of Marko Marin (Chelsea), Tim Wiese (1899 Hoffenheim), Markus Rosenberg (West Bromwich Albion), Claudio Pizarro (FC Bayern Munich) and Naldo (VfL Wolfsburg) likely to hit Thomas Schaaf's men hard. That certainly seemed to be the case on Sunday as a toothless Werder tumbled out of the DFB Cup at FC Preußen Münster, raising big questions as to whether loanee Nils Petersen can take on the scoring mantle from the departed Pizarro. Austrian Marko Arnautovic also needs a 'big season' if Werder are to improve on last term's below-par ninth-placed finish, but he should at least get plenty of chances following the arrival of midfield duo Eljero Elia (Juventus) and Kevin de Bruyne (Chelsea, loan). And if Bremen are to challenge for the European places again, they'll need to reach the heights of a promising pre-season campaign that saw them lift the LIGA Total! Cup after a 4-2 shoot-out win in the final over FC Bayern Munich.
Fortuna's no.1 objective this season is survival - simple as that. Accordingly, executive director Wolf Werner and coach Norbert Meier have recruited heavily during the close season, with the acquisition of midfielder Axel Bellinghausen an exciting addition to the squad. 33-year-old Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin - on loan from Dynamo Moscow - will also be hoping to have his say at this his fifth Bundesliga club, although goals were not always easy to come by in some of Fortuna's more testing pre-season encounters. A scrappy 1-0 DFB Cup win against minnows Wacker Burghausen on Sunday could be a sign of things to come, as Meier looks to buck the trend that has plagued Fortuna in years gone by and spare his side an immediate return to Bundesliga 2.
Hoffenheim's pre-season work was delivered a knock-out blow at the weekend, as the Bundesliga club were well and truly put to the sword at fourth division outfit Berlin AK. Changes to the starting eleven are likely to be made, as a repeat performance at league level is simply unthinkable. Perhaps a lack of cohesion played its part, with coach Markus Babbel having recruited from the Bundesliga, Japan's J-League and La Liga in preparation for the new campaign. Last season saw the Sinsheim club finish 11th in the Bundesliga table and they are desperate to omprove on that position. Pre-season results have been pretty rosy and the experience of new signings Matthieu Delpierre (VfB Stuttgart), Eren Derdiyok (Bayer 04 Leverkusen) and Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen) could be exactly what's needed to bump them into the top half.
Much like Fortuna, Bundesliga newcomers Greuther Fürth face an uphill battle to keep their heads above water - perhaps even more so, as a first-round DFB Cup defeat to third division club Kickers Offenbach might suggest. It was all going so well too, with Mike Buskens' troops enjoying an unbeaten pre-season run of eight wins and one draw before the cup elimination. A further worry is the departure of last season's top scorer Olivier Occean, whose 17 goals were crucial to Fürth's promotion-winning campaign, while wing back Stephan Schröck has opted for mid-table security in the form of 1899 Hoffenheim. Several replacements have been brought in, but they will need time to adapt to their new team-mates and surroundings. Unfortunately, time is the one thing they do not have. First up on the league calendar? Who else, but Bayern Munich...