Peter Stöger will be looking to see whether his "best-ever" 1. FC Köln squad can start the season with a win over Norbert Meier's SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Only three teams conceded fewer goals in the Bundesliga than 1. FC Köln last season, and given the proclamation of their coach Stöger that he has "certainly the best and most balanced squad" since he took charge of the Billy Goats, Darmstadt could well be quaking in their boots at the prospect of paying the RheinEnergieSTADION a visit this weekend. "I'm very happy," added the Austrian, who will be hoping to keep that sentiment come full-time on Saturday.
Darmstadt arrive with their new coach Meier inheriting a team who would have finished fourth last season had only their away games counted. As it was, the Lilies finished 14th, but a repeat of the seven wins on their travels and will be the aim in their second straight top-flight campaign. That, Meier hopes, will begin on the Rhine.
Köln: to follow
Absentees: Kessler (knee ligaments)
Head coach: Peter Stöger
Darmstadt: to follow
Absentees: Platte (hip)
Head coach: Norbert Meier