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.

But which clubs have already hit a purple patch and look set to perform to the best of their abilities this weekend? And which are still struggling?’s form guide provides an overview, presenting those sides whose preparation is well on track.

It could be a tricky season for SC Freiburg. On the one hand, they are playing in Europe for the first time since 2001. On the other, replacing five of last season’s regular starters is no mean feat. Of all their newcomers, Mike Hanke (right), Felix Klaus and Gelson Fernandes are most likely to become key players. The most recent pre-season friendlies have shown plenty of promise. Olympiacos FC and Turkish first-division outfit Belediyespor were beaten, while Athletic Club Bilbao were held to a 0-0 draw.

Did you know that… Freiburg only scored four headers during the 2012/13 season? Mike Hanke, who has scored 20 of his 55 Bundesliga goals with his head, could be the man to alter that statistic.

Nuremberg have added quality to their attack with the signings of Daniel Ginczek and Josip Drmic. A defensive reshuffle was required after Timmy Simons and Timm Klose left the club. They in turn recruited Emanuel Pogatetz from Wolfsburg. Der Club performed well in pre-season, but the 3-0 reverse against league rivals Mönchengladbach – their only pre-season defeat – has served as a warning to club bosses.

Did you know… new strikers Daniel Ginczek and Josip Drmic are very strong on the counterattack? Ginczek managed seven, while Drmic scored five goals on the break last season.

Yet again, VfL Wolfsburg’s goal is to qualify for Europe. The departure of 15 first-team players has significantly reduced the size of their squad. New signing Timm Klose is expected to help fill that void. Wolfsburg’s pre-season results were a mixed bag: They suffered a dip halfway through their schedule, losing to FC Copenhagen, FC Bruges and Eintracht Braunschweig. They have beaten their last three opponents, however, including Olympique Marseille.

Did you know… no other backline scored as many goals as Wolfsburg’s last season? VfL’s defenders hit the net eleven times in total – as many as Gladbach.

Last season, VfB Stuttgart’s paper-thin squad was their achilles heel. Sporting director Fredi Bobic subsequently added seven new faces to the squad. Daniel Schwaab, Mohammed Abdellaoue, Moritz Leitner and Konstantin Rausch in particular are expected to move the club forward. VfB had a good pre-season. Bruno Labbadia’s side’s only defeat came against KAA Gent. They beat FC Valencia and Akhisar Belediyespor and drew against Olympiacos FC.

Did you know… the Schwaben played 52 competitive games in 2012/13. Only Bayern played more matches (54). A similar marathon awaits them this campaign.

FC Augsburg just about managed to overcome their “second season syndrome”. They will be hoping the third Bundesliga campaign in their history will be a little less eventful. Last season’s loanees and key players Ja-Cheol Koo and Ji Dong-Won have left. In Raphael Holzhauser and Halil Altintop, however, FCA have brought in two ambitious players. The Fuggerstädter lost narrowly to Fürth and Malaga CF, but showed their potential with a 1-0 victory against AS Monaco FC.

Did you know… Halil Altintop has scored 47 goals in 236 Bundesliga appearances? The 30-year-old Turk has played for Kaiserslautern, Schalke and Frankfurt.

After surviving by the skin of their teeth, Hoffenheim have made some radical changes: 14 players have left the club, while three returning loanees and just as many permanent transfers have strengthened Markus Gisdol’s side. Much is expected of strikers Tarik Elyounoussi and Anthony Modeste in particular. TSG have shown what they are capable of in recent friendlies. They held Athletic Club Bilbao to a draw, before beating APOEL Nicosia (3-0) and Olympiacos FC (4-1).

Did you know… Hoffenheim managed to win five out of their nine competitive matches under Markus Gisdol last season? Two ended in draws, the other two ended in defeats.

Promoted Hertha Berlin have added some familiar faces to their squad ahead of the new season. Alexander Baumjohann (right), Johannes van den Bergh, Hajime Hosogai and Sebastian Langkamp have all played under Jos Luhukay in the past. Only squad players were let go. The “Old Lady” made a good impression in pre-season. The only side who the Berliners failed to beat was RAD Belgrade.

Did you know… Hertha BSC have swapped divisions for the fourth time in a row? The club from the capital are determined to avoid an immediate return to the second tier this time around.

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