FC Bayern and Bayer 04 Leverkusen picked up seamlessly from where they left off in 2012, defending champions Dortmund set the early gold standard and their near-neighbours and great rivals Schalke ended a barren patch in topsy-turvy fashion as the Bundesliga heavy-hitters came out slugging in 2013. Overshadowing the much-anticipated league restart, however, was the unveiling of the game's most coveted coach as Jupp Heynckes' successor in Munich next season. GOAL! gets the ball rolling with a report on the record champions' coup, after which it's on to the usual in-depth look ahead to the action that matters most in Germany's top flight. Be sure to tune in!
The announcement by FC Bayern Munich that Pep Guardiola will be the man to succeed Jupp Heynckes when the veteran coach retires at the end of the season made headlines around the football world just days before the 2012/13 Bundesliga campaign got back underway. Guardiola, currently in the midst of a sabbatical, oversaw the fine-tuning of an FC Barcelona side generally regarded as one of the finest the game has ever seen during his four-year tenure in charge at the Camp Nou. As of this summer, the 42-year-old Catalan will be working to try and replicate that kind of success with the German record champions - and the potential outcome is already being anticipated with bated breath far beyond the city boundaries of the Bavarian capital.
Top Game I
First things first, though, and while Bayern have no particular cause to be glancing nervously over their shoulders in the title race at this moment in time, the resounding manner in which Borussia Dortmund dismantled Werder Bremen on the road in their first serious competitive assignment of the year will have been duly noted in Munich. The two-time defending champions hit their hosts for five without reply, courtesy of five different players - among them Felipe Santana, slotting in seamlessly in central defence in place of the injured Neven Subotic, while returning hero Nuri Sahin rounded off a memorable day's work with a cameo appearance near the end. Next up for BVB is the visit of 1. FC Nuremberg to the Signal Iduna Park. In their first league game under former U-23 coach Michael Wiesinger, der Club had to be content with a home draw against Hamburg - a result which drops them to fourth-bottom of the table, albeit still eight points clear of Hoffenheim in the relegation play-off slot. Under the current circumstances, another share of the spoils in this one would likely do Dieter Hecking's successor just fine.
In Focus I
A perfectly executed free kick from Marco Reus got Dortmund up and running early on at Bremen and with it, the summer arrival from Mönchengladbach gave due notice of his intention to pick up in 2013 where he left off in 2012. In his 18 league appearances, Dortmund-born Reus has so far chipped in with seven goals and just as many direct assists for the team he used to cheer on fervently from the terraces as a youngster. The 2012 German Player of the Year already seems to have struck up an almost telepathic understanding with fellow prodigious talent Mario Götze in particular and the defending champions are understandably upbeat about the prospect of that partnership, among others, continuing to flourish over the years ahead.
Goal of the Matchday
Five of the best from the 29 Bundesliga goals served up over the weekend.