The 52nd year of the national top flight has all the makings of another thriller and bundesliga.com will of course be keeping you bang up to date with all the news that counts on the clubs' pre-season preparations. Here's part II of our overview on the close season's hottest topics...
Every new campaign brings its own batch of fresh faces for Bundesliga fans to get acquainted with and some of Europe's top breakthrough talents will be taking their bow in the German game in a few short weeks time. Ciro Immobile, last season's surprise Serie A top scorer, will be leading the line for Dortmund from now on, while FC Bayern have expanded their options down the left with Spain Under-21 international Juan Bernat. Ukrainian attacking midfielder Vladlen Yurchenko (l.) is an exciting addition to the Leverkusen ranks and the same can be said for Mönchengladbach regarding the loan signing of Thorgan Hazard from Chelsea FC. Other new faces to look out for are Chilean World Cup full-back Gonzalo Jara at FSV Mainz, Hertha Berlin's Swiss attacker Valentin Stocker and Czech defensive prospect Tomas Kalas, on a season-long loan at 1. FC Köln.
The Bundesliga's now firmly-established reputation as a producer of absolutely top-drawer young players shows no sign of diminishing any time soon. FC Schalke 04 have evidently unearthed another gem in (l.), while Bayer 04 Leverkusen's is another exciting midfield prospect in he same mould. Jostling for a place behind them in the fast lane are a number of young hopefuls, including FC Bayern München's Julian Green, whose extra-time goal against Belgium made him the youngest-ever World Cup finals scorer for the USA, Werder Bremen's Davie Selkie, Schalke scoring prodigy Donis Avdijaj, his Köln counterpart Lucas Cueto and Borussia Dortmund's Germany U-19 centre-back Marian Sarr.
The newcomers set to grace Bundesliga pitches this term have been well documented this summer, with all 18 members of Germany's top flight active to some degree in the transfer market. Less widely known, however, are the new faces on the sidelines. Roger Schmidt and Kasper Hjulmand will attempt to respectively steer Leverkusen and Mainz through domestic and European competition in their first campaign in a Bundesliga hotseat. Elsewhere, Thomas Schaaf is out to shake off the coaching cobwebs at Eintracht Frankfurt following a season-long sabbatical, while his predecessor Armin Veh has returned to VfB Stuttgart, whom he led to the Bundesliga title in 2007.
There have also been a few administrative changes going into 2014/15, the most visible of which is the VfB Stuttgart club crest. At the end of the 1990s the word “Stuttgart” was included in the emblem, a move not universally well received among the VfB faithful. As of 1 July, the Swabians have reverted to their original logo, with “1893” – the date the club was founded – replacing the city name. Another of the South West's leading lights are now known, once again, as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after the club opted to re-introduce the Turn- und Sportgemeinschaft (Gymnastics and Sports Club) prefix axed in 2007. Their official three-letter club code is therefore now TSG, while Eintracht Frankfurt's has changed to SGE (Sportgemeinde Eintracht – Eintracht Sports Club).
The 2014/15 season really does hit the ground running with the fixture schedule throwing up some belting contests right from the off. Defending champions FC Bayern will joust with an ambitious VfL Wolfsburg side in a fascinating season curtain-raiser, while Borussia Dortmund host Bayer Leverkusen on the first Saturday of the campaign. The following week Bayern are away to Schalke, who themselves travel to Mönchengladbach in an equally intriguing encounter on Matchday 3. The first Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke, meanwhile, comes as early as Matchday 6, ensuring an extra-special early-season buzz in the Ruhr district football heartland.