Bayern Munich start their quest for a ninth successive Bundesliga title tonight with a home clash against Schalke.
The European champions continue to dominate domestically and look likely to be fearsome opposition once again this season.
Although Thiago Alcantara is on his way to Liverpool, Bayern’s already impressive squad has been strengthened by the addition of Leroy Sane from Manchester City.
The German giants have won their last 21 competitive games and have not tasted defeat since a 2-1 reverse at Borussia Monchengladbach in December.
Hans-Dieter Flick’s side are the heavy favourites to lift the title again, with Robert Lewandowski also tipped to finish the season as the league’s top scorer.
The Pole, 32, netted 34 goals in 31 Bundesliga games last term, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 victory at Schalke in August 2019.
Schalke were hammered 5-0 at the Allianz Arena in January and Bayern also dumped them out of the DFB Cup in March.
Not surprisingly, former Huddersfield boss David Wagner begins the new campaign under pressure after his side’s dramatic dip in form.
Schalke finished 12th in the Bundesliga after failing to win any of their last 16 games — a run that included 10 defeats and saw them score just seven times.
Despite Bayern being without the self-isolating Kingsley Coman, Schalke face an uphill battle.
Fans have been given the green light to return to Bundesliga stadiums at a reduced capacity but this evening’s game will take place behind closed doors.
Although Bayern had planned to host 7,500 spectators, a spike in infections in the local area put paid to those plans.