Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich kick off Bundesliga against Monchengladbach, with live streaming available to watch the game online for fans.
This time 12 months ago Bayern Munich were second best at everything, the ultimate bridesmaid that was never going to be the bride.
Runners-up in both the domestic league and cup they also missed out on the holy grail of Europe in the Champions league, Bayern were a side that couldn’t quite get over the line when it came to winning trophies.
Fast forward to this summer and the Bavarian giants enter the new season as the kings of Germany and Europe after a stunning season that saw them claim the treble they so miserably missed out on the previous year.
The presence of a new manager in the shape of Pep Guardiola has if anything heightened expectations and while the former Barcelona man faces the daunting task of trying to emulate the efforts of Jupp Heynckes, the bare minimum required for success would be a 24th Bundesliga title.
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Small tweaks rather that wholesale changes have been order of the day, the move of Philippe Lahm from left back to midfielder looks interesting as did the pre-season appearance of Thomas Muller in the false 9 position. The capture of Thiago Alcantara adds to a congested midfield that contains 10 full internationals but with some many games to be played this season there should be plenty of opportunities for all involved.
Bayern will start the season full of confidence after putting the German super cup defeat to rivals Dortmund behind them with wins over Sao Paulo (2-0), Manchester City (2-1) and fifth division side BSV Schwarz-Weiß Rehden (5-0) in the first round of the German Cup.
Guardiola’s side also beat their opening day rivals, Borussia VfL Mönchengladbach, 5-1 in a friendly in July.
Lucien Favre’s side meanwhile had beaten Nurnburg and Borussia Dortmund before that heavy defeat but they responded from the set back to beat Scottish Champions Celtic 2-1 in their final pre-season game.
Their opening competitive game of the new season saw them crash out of the DFB Cup, losing to division 3 side Darmstadt 98 5-4 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 during regular and extra time.
Favre will be hoping that any early season worries can be eased quickly following that shock loss and will point to their win over Bayern in their opening game of the season in 2011 as a source of inspiration for his players.
A second half header from Igor de Camargo’s was enough that day however Bayern has improved considerably since then and boasts one of the strongest squads in Europe.
Bayern’s success has made them a target and the chance to claim a famous scalp will prove motivation enough for last season’s 8th place side according to Monchengladbach’s right-back Tony Jantschke.
“The game will be broadcast in more than a hundred countries, the eyes of the world will be watching us,”
“There is nothing better for a footballer, even if you know that a difficult game awaits us in Munich and we’re the underdogs. Game against Bayern have always been close over the last few years and hopefully, with a bit of luck, we can take a few points home.”
Favre is likely to include his three summer signings, Germany striker Max Kruse, Brazil’s Raffael from Dynamo Kiev and on loan Leverkusen defensive midfielder Christoph Kramer in his squad with Kruse and Raffel poised to start.
Bayern meanwhile will be without summer signing Mario Goetze as he has only returned to training following a muscle injury while Bastian Schweinsteiger should play despite limping off in the cup win over Schwarz-Reiss Rehden
Despite Monchengladbach having a good recent record against Bayern, winning two of the last four meetings and drawing last season at the Allianz Arena, Guardiola’s side should have too much for them.
Bayern lost just one of their 34 Bundesliga fixtures last term and won the league by a massive 25 points and they are a good bet not just to start with a win but to win the league outright.[/colored_box]