Frankfurt/Main - Less than a month on from Hamburger SV clinching the final spot in the 18-team line-up set to battle it out in Germany’s top flight, the countdown to the new season has begun after the fixture list for the 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign was released by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH in Frankfurt.
With 34 Matchdays set to determine the fate of the sides involved, the 53rd Bundesliga campaign promises to pack in plenty of highlights that could have a marked effect on how things pan out at the top and bottom of the table.
Will VfL Wolfsburg mount a title challenge capable of toppling record titlehodlers FC Bayern München? Will Thomas Tuchel be able to turn things around at Borussia Dortmund? Can 1. FC Köln avoid the dreaded second-season syndrome and will newly-promoted sides SV Darmstadt 98 and FC Ingolstadt 04 be able to leave a lasting impression on the league of the world champions? All will be answered in due course, but which fixtures are the ones to watch out for?
FC Bayern München - Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund have a point to prove in 2015/16 and will have a chance to do so against FC Bayern on Matchday 8 (2-4 October 2015) in the 93rd meeting between the two, with the return fixture taking place on Matchday 25 (4-6 March 2016). BVB have won just two of their previous ten clashes with the record titleholders in all competitions.
Borussia Dortmund - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Matchday 1 (15-16 August 2015) has a belter in store as Dortmund welcome their namesakes from Mönchengladbach to the Signal Iduna Park in Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge. The Foals host BVB on Matchday 18 (22-24 January 2016) and goals are guaranteed with 283 having been scored in league games between the two.
FC Bayern München - VfL Wolfsburg
With many believing Wolfsburg will pose the greatest threat to Bayern’s title defence, the clashes between the two sides on Matchday 6 (22-23 September 2015) and Matchday 23 (26-28 February 2016) could prove pivotal in determining who will lift the Meisterschale come the end of the season. The Wolves were the first to beat the record titleholders in 2014/15.
FC Schalke 04 - Borussia Dortmund
Schalke versus Dortmund: The Bundesliga’s most hotly contested derby. Both sides won their home ties last season and are set to renew their rivalry on Matchday 12 (6-8 November 2015) and Matchday 29 (8-10 April 2015). BVB currently boast 31 wins to the Royal Blues’ 30, so bragging rights are truly on the line.
1. FC Köln - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Separated by less than 50km, Köln and Gladbach will face off in the Rhinederby on Matchday 5 (18-20 September 2015), the 83rd meeting between the two, and on Matchday 22 (19-21 February 2016). The Foals boasts 45 wins against their arch rivals and are unbeaten in their last nine games against the Billy Goats.
FC Bayern München - FC Schalke 04
FC Bayern have won more than half of their Bundesliga encounters with Schalke, though both matches ended in 1-1 draws last season. Matchday 13 (20-22 November 2015) offers the Royal Blues their first chance at beating Bayern, before the two clash again on Matchday 29 (15-17 April 2016).
Borussia Mönchengladbach - FC Bayern München
FC Bayern and Gladbach are set to meet for the 95th time in Bundesliga history when they lock horns on Matchday 15 (04-06 December 2015). The Foals have only played against HSV as often and, having tested the title winners last season, will relish a trip to Munich on Matchday 32 (29-30 April 2016).
Hamburger SV - SV Werder Bremen
Historically speaking, the Northern derby is one of the Bundesliga’s most evenly-matched encounters with Bremen picking up 37 wins toHamburg’s 32 and 33 ending in the spoils being shared. How will the 103rd and 104th editions end on Matchday 14 (27-29 November 2015) and Matchday 31 (22-24 April 2016)?
SV Darmstadt 98 - Eintracht Frankfurt
Providing two of the 30 derby fixtures set to grace the Bundesliga schedule, the Hessen derby between Frankfurt and Darmstadt returns for the first time since 1982. The Eagles have won three of the past four meetings, but the Lillies will have a chance to rectify that record on Matchday 15 (4-6 December 2015) and Matchday 32 (29-30 April 2016).