Cologne – The Bundesliga is back! A total of 34 intensely exciting Matchdays are about to get underway once again, with FC Bayern München's clash with Hamburger SV raising the curtain on season number 53 of Germany's top flight this Friday night (kick-off 20:30 CEST).
As always, bundesliga.com does not want you to miss a thing in the build-up to the big kick-off, so we will be here like we were last season bringing you all the build-up to the weekend's action. To be sure you have your finger on the Bundesliga pulse, stay tuned to our live updates!
Battle of the Borussias
…the season start
Of course it's a very interesting opening for us. We're really looking forward to this match. Certainly Dortmund are going to be hard to fathom with their new coach Thomas Tuchel.
[Martin] Stranzl's getting better and he's already training with our fitness coach. [Havard] Nordtveit is suspended for two matches. Patrick Herrmann's only been training for three and a half weeks. I know him very well and he still needs time, but he's heading in the right direction.
…Thorgan Hazard's chances of playing
He's not only good on the counter-attack, but he can also play alone up top. He's got a lot of potential and reads the game well, even though he still has a lot to learn. We're going to decide tomorrow. It's possible there will be a few changes.
First up: FC Bayern
As is tradition, the defending champions will get the season underway, and they were also the first to hold their pre-match press conference on Thursday. Here are just a few things Pep Guardiola had to say:
…his squad situation
Of course with Franck [Ribery], with Javi [Martinez], with [Holger] Badstuber, with Jan Kirchhoff we would have more options, but we want to be good challengers. I'm not nervous – I don't get nervous any more. I was only nervous ahead of my first game as Bayern coach against Borussia Mönchengladbach. We want to play well and win, then it's onwards – always onwards.
Hamburg are a club with a great tradition. They're a big club. I've got a great deal of respect for Bruno Labbadia. We've got to focus hard on our game.
…his third season in charge
I've still got to keep on working hard. Bayern have an incredible, amazing squad. Not just this one, but in the past too – always. It's fantastic. It's a very good squad and we all know each other better now than we did two years ago, so that makes it a bit more comfortable because I need less time to convince my players.
…having a large squad
It's impossible to keep all of your players happy. Even tomorrow, five or six of them won't play. I think that all of my players will get their minutes. The players have got to do their talking on the field and put in a good shift.
…new signing Arturo Vidal
Arturo's a warrior and he always gives it everything, even in training. He's got good legs and a good foot, he's strong in the air too. He can play in a variety of positions.
…the objectives for the season
Of course we want to win the Bundesliga title again. Nobody has managed to win it four times in a row so that would be a huge achievement. But we've got some strong rivals – not only Wolfsburg, but also Leverkusen, Gladbach, Dortmund, Schalke. I also want to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, and then we'll have to see.
Anticipation in Sinsheim
First time in front of the cameras
The media in Bremen have been getting to know Werder's new signing Aron Johansson a bit better.
Training ground updates:
It'll be all white on the night