With European football’s domestic campaigns set to resume soon, all eyes will be on the Bundesliga and efforts to dethrone the national game’s dominant team: Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian outfit have put to bed a Borussia Dortmund renaissance and have been crowned German champions for the last four years in a row.
It has virtually been a case of when rather than if the Allianz Arena outfit will clinch the Bundesliga title and as such something drastic needs to change in 2016-17 if someone other than Die Roten are to become champions.
The departure of mesmeric coach Pep Guardiola, who defied odds at My Betting Bonus to take over at Manchester City, will offer a glimmer of hope – although his replacement Carlo Ancelotti boasts a venerable record of success across the continent.
Bayern have also been quick to conclude some transfer business, with Mats Hummels doing the unthinkable and returning from Dortmund while Portuguese whizz-kid Renato Sanches has been acquired from Benfica.
In all reality, if the Bavarian powerhouses can replicate the immense performances that have made them virtually unplayable in recent years, the rest of the division can all-but wave goodbye to chances of usurping the men in red.
Bayern are clear favourites at odds of 2-11.
However, the collective hope will be that the changing of the coaching guard will bring with it some inconsistency that can be exposed.
Looking at the other challengers, Dortmund seem like the only side that can really get anywhere near Bayern in terms of star quality.
The Signal Iduna Park outfit have had to make do with a core of their players leaving for other clubs, a host to Bayern, but have subsequently recruited shrewdly.
Thomas Tuchel’s men have lost Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer, but the club’s acquisitions will have the Schwarzgelben faithful optimistic before the start of the campaign.
Dortmund have splurged over €100 million this transfer window already on a host of exciting, young players and Tuchel has a venerable contingent of talent at his disposal.
Mario Götze’s return from an ill-fated spell at Bayern has been the highest-profile recruit but the purchase of Andre Schürrle from Wolfsburg and the sublimely gifted Ousmane Dembele from Rennes gives the Ruhr Valley outfit plenty of options in the final third.
The recruitment of Marc Bartra from Barcelona, Sebastian Rode from Bayern and Euro 2016 star Raphael Guerreiro from Lorient all seem inspired moves also.
For Dortmund to reduce the ten-point gap to Bayern from last season will be tough and Tuchel’s men are at odds of 8-1 to win the Bundesliga in 2016-17.
Of the other contenders, it would be a real shock if any of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg or Schalke were able to turn last season’s form into a Bundesliga-winning campaign.