Cologne - The long football-free summer will come to an end on 14 August, as the Bundesliga kicks off the 2015/16 campaign. With the big day drawing ever closer, a number of Bundesliga clubs met up with their fans to touch base ahead of the new season.
'Up close and personal'
bundesliga.com takes a look at some of the highlights...
FC Schalke 04 were the first of the sides to get the ball rolling with their annual 'Fan Day', held under the motto "Schalke up close and personal". Over 100,000 supporters turned out to meet their heroes.
And the Royal Blues' players evidently enjoyed themselves too, taking selfies aplenty on a stage that was specially erected for the occasion outside the club's Veltins Arena.
“It’s always good feedback for us to know people are still mad about the club,” said captain Benedikt Höwedes. "Hopefully we can pay back their show of faith this season." Newcomer Franco Di Santo (below) was one of the most sought-after players from autograph hunters.
Party atmosphere in Wolfsburg
Having won the DFB Cup at the end of last season and also lifted the Supercup with victory over FC Bayern München last week, there was a buoyant atmosphere at VfL Wolfsburg's 'Fan and Family Festival'. "On the one hand we wanted to thank our fans for their terrific support last season and on the other we wanted to get into the mood with them ahead of our first Bundesliga game," said sporting director Klaus Allofs. "We managed to do both."
Furthermore, it was announced that head coach Dieter Hecking had signed a contract extension, while new signings Max Kruse, Koen Casteels, Carlos Ascues and Francisco Rodriguez were presented to the Green and White faithful, who then had the chance to snap up some signatures in a two-hour autograph marathon:
Huge turn out in Cologne
1. FC Köln are famed for their passionate supporters, who duly arrived in their thousands for the Billy Goats' Fan Festival. Stands and stalls were set up all around the club's RheinEnergie-Stadion and there entertainment was provided on the purpose-built stage.
There was even a special guest appearance from club mascot Hennes...
And, of course, the autograph session and chance to snap photographs with the stars was the main attraction.
Festival with a difference
Alongside the re-opening of the club shop and a number of on-stage activities at Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Fan Day, there was a special treat for younger Werkself supporters. Several friendly games were organised for youth teams, and first team players Stefan Kießling, Bernd Leno, Julian Brandt and Ömer Toprak took over the coaching of the sides, while Heung-Min Son and Roberto Hilbert acted as referees.
Over 16,300 visitors took part at the event, where the fans’ Player of the Year for 2014/15 was announced. Karim Bellarabi took the crown, with Leno coming second and Hakan Calhanoglu third. To finish things off, there was also a chance to grab a few autographs…