The 2014-15 Bundesliga season will start with a bang, as defending champions Bayern Munich will open their domestic campaign hosting VfL Wolfsburg, an ambitious young side with top three aspirations.
The Bavarians will once again be overwhelming favourites to win the German title, but the battle at the top of the table could be a fierce one in 2014-15. Borussia Dortmund believe they have a good chance of unseating Bayern as champions, and following heavy investments, Wolfsburg shouldn't be too far behind.
Fans couldn't have asked for a better start to the campaign: Two of the top teams going head-to-head in the very first match, with both clubs looking to make a statement in front of an audience of millions.
Date: Friday, August 22
Time: 6.30 p.m. BST/2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich
TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on BT Sport 1 (for UK viewers) and Gol TV (for US viewers), with mobile coverage available via the BT Sport app.
Bayern have held the edge over the rest of the Bundesliga as far as talent goes in the past few seasons, and 2014-15 shouldn't be any different. The large budget and the appeal of playing for the Bavarians makes it possible for the club to bring in talent from all over the country, weakening the opposition in the process.
That doesn't mean Die Rekordmeister will just run away with the Bundesliga title—there's plenty of talent distributed among the other clubs, and Wolfsburg could realistically rival Dortmund as Bayern's main title challenger when looking at some of the players they'll be fielding on Friday.
This is how Goal believes the Wolves will line up:
Ricardo Rodriguez was one of the Bundesliga's top defenders last season, and the duo of Junior Malanda and Luiz Gustavo could be one of the most physically dominant in all of football in 2014-15.
Kevin de Bruyne and Vieirinha will provide veteran striker Ivica Olic with plenty of good looks on goal, although the club will be without Ivan Perisic for the start of the Bundesliga season.
Those names won't scare the Bavarians, whose attack will be led by Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski. The latter has looked very impressive during pre-season, while the former will be looking to build on a phenomenal performance at the 2014 World Cup.
As shared by the league's Twitter account, Muller looks ready to go:
Club legend Giovane Elber told Spox (h/t to Goal, for BeIN Sport) he believes Lewandowski will lift Bayern to new heights:
Mario Mandzukic scored a lot of goals for Bayern, but you must admit that Lewandowski's goal in the Telekom Cup against Wolfsburg was simply stunning. Bayern should be happy Lewandowski now plays in Munich and no longer for Dortmund. Bayern needed a player like him.
You can no longer achieve much with a striker who only waits for the ball in the area. We all saw that at the World Cup. Germany had a winning formula with Thomas Muller and Brazil did not with Fred. A modern striker should not only score goals, but also contribute to his side. He has to think and add something to the team. Lewandowski is perfect for that role.
Bayern's 2-0 Super Cup loss to Dortmund wasn't pretty, but it's important to note Pep Guardiola fielded a number of bench players in that match, as it looked like the Spaniard didn't value that trophy all that much.
The team will be looking to make their first statement of the season against Wolfsburg, a club that showed its potential in the second half of last season. More than three points, a strong performance from either side could jump-start their 2014-15 seasons tremendously, so fans will be in for a wild ride on Friday.
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