Munich - The 51st edition of the Bundesliga begins on Friday with the clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach. The battle for the title, the European positions, and the fight against relegation will be decided later in the season, but a good start can provide the platform upon which a successful campaign can be built.

Which teams are set to hit the ground running and which will be caught flat-footed as the season gets underway?’s form guide offers an overview and highlights the sides with room to improve going into the first weekend of the season.

In Hamburg, the most prominent new signing wasn’t on the pitch, but behind a desk, with Oliver Kreuzer replacing Frank Arnesen as sporting director. The search for a new striker to complement playmaker Rafael van der Vaart (pictured) is surely top of his list, although Kreuzer must also reduce the size of a squad which finished seventh last season. Pre-season produced some mixed results, despite the new defensive signings of Johan Djourou (Arsenal, injured) and Lasse Sobiech (Dortmund), Hamburg lost three consecutive friendly matches.

Did you know that... Hamburg have started the past two seasons with defeat? In 2011/12 they lost 3-1 in Dortmund, whilst last season they suffered a 1-0 reverse at home to Nuremberg.

Coach Mirko Slomka (pictured) has set Europe as the aim for the season, but pre-season has only granted him limited opportunities for fine-tuning. Easy victories over amateur clubs notwithstanding, an injury-ravaged Hannover struggled to shine in the more difficult tests, as was evident in their 3-0 friendly defeat to PSV Eindhoven. Of the new arrivals, Salif Sane and Edgar Prib seem to have the best chance of establishing themselves in the starting XI.

Did you know that... last season Hannover were extremely vulnerable to quick counterattacks? Slomka's troops conceded a league-high 15 goals on the break.

After the departure of long-standing coach Thomas Schaaf, Bremen stand on the precipice of a new era under the guidance of Robin Dutt (pictured). Things haven't gone exactly to plan just yet, as the 2004 champions lost four friendly matches in a row, although they have improved of late. Dutt signed Cedrick Makiadi from former club Freiburg and also brought Italian defender Luca Caldirola to the Weser. The duo should help plug what was a rather leaky backline last term.

Did you know that... Bremen struggled to hold onto a lead last season? Despite going 1-0 up on eight occasions they ended up with five draws and three defeats in those games.

Last season’s Bundesliga 2 sensations go almost unchanged into 2013/14, but that is not to say the Lions’ preparations for their first top-flight campaign since 1985 have been smooth. Opponents such as Athletic Bilbao (4-0) and West Ham (3-0) proved far too strong, while they were also eliminated from the DFB Cup at the first hurdle. The returning Torsten Oehrl (pictured) could be an important stand-in for injured top-scorer Domi Kumbela.

Did you know that... Braunschweig had a dream start last season? Eintracht began with five victories in a row and only tasted defeat for the first time on Matchday 15, a 3-1 loss away to Energie Cottbus.

Form Guide | Top formForm Guide | Looking good