James Rodriguez is set for his second season as a Bayern Munich player, but when he returns to the Bavarian capital following his post-World Cup vacation, he will find plenty of differences. One thing will be the same, however: his and the club's craving for success.
bundesliga.com looks ahead to what James and Bayern can expect from his second term in the Bundesliga.
It is no secret that James was wanted more than anything by Carlo Ancelotti, who was at the helm of the Bavarian club a year ago. The Colombian forward expressed concern when Ancelotti was replaced by Jupp Heynckes just a few months into the season, but those fears proved unfounded as the German coach made James an integral member of his side.
The 27-year-old will now, however, have to get to know another coach. When he returns for pre-season training, he will find former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Niko Kovac calling the shots – and this could be yet another change for the better as far as James is concerned. Kovac's style of play may be more physically demanding, but it could place James right at the heart of his quick, counter-attacking style, exalting his productive qualities and making him a key member of his side.
WATCH: How James runs the Bayern show
Kovac is not the only new face James will encounter at the Säbener Straße, with new signings Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry given something of a headstart in pre-season training. Their arrivals will strengthen the Bayern midfield and attack, also providing competition to James for a place in the team, but more likely giving him more in-game options to try to carve the way through opposition defences.
Objective: Champions League
Bayern were beaten in the semi-finals of last season's Champions League by eventual winners Real Madrid, and although James scored against his parent club, that was of no consolation to the Colombian and the German record champions. It has been five years since the Bavarians last tasted European glory. Too long for many in Munich.
WATCH: James' stunning first season at Bayern
To win the Champions League, you need top players and James fits into that category, elevating Bayern onto a level where they are considered among the pre-tournament favourites. Now settled in Bavaria, James will look to deliver more and more match-winning performances and prove, as he has done countless times for his nation, that he is a player who can make a difference and be a leader for this side, at home and in Europe.
A legend in waiting
There is no doubt James has what it takes to be a leader. While often quiet off the pitch, he is vocal on it and has often captained Colombia. His maiden Bundesliga season was astounding, but now he will be aiming to rise another level and put his name down in Bayern and Bundesliga history books.
He has the quality in the locker – underlined not least by his seven goals and double-digit assists in 23 Bundesliga outings last term – and he can now aim to rub shoulders with some of the mythical names of German football.