1. FC Köln - Hamburger SV
HSV came perilously close to a first Bundesliga relegation last season but since then, they have bought well. Valon Behrami, Matthias Ostrzolek and Nicolai Müller have all arrived whilst the club also captured last season’s loan star Pierre-Michel Lasogga on a permanent basis. That said, Hamburg were fortunate though to pull through on penalties against third tier Energie Cottbus in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.
Newly promoted Cologne will be looking to carry over the momentum from their second division title win last season and that feel good factor created by coach Peter Stöger should be enough for an opening day victory.
Cologne to win – 2.20
Eintracht Frankfurt - SC Freiburg
Freiburg face another season of battling against the odds with Christian Streich. Each summer, the Black Forest outfit seem to have their best talent picked off and this time around, it was goalkeeper Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim) and Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund) that departed.
After 14 years as coach of Werder Bremen, Thomas Schaaf on Saturday takes charge of another side in the Bundesliga, that being Eintracht Frankfurt. Successful or not, his love of attacking play is likely to lead to some entertaining football. Still, Freiburg might just have enough to nick an opening day point.
Draw – 3.40
Hannover - Schalke 04
This fixture has provided some thrilling encounters in the previous few years with last season’s edition particularly memorable as Szabolcs Huszti, Christian Fuchs and Benedikt Höwedes were all sent off. Huszti though began his summer holiday from Hannover without permission and has since departed.
That leaves the 96 with a creative gap to fill but new signing from Nuremberg Hiroshi Kiyotake should help Tayfun Korkut’s side. As for Schalke, they need to overcome their humbling at the hands of Dynamo Dresden in the DFB-Pokal. In an effort to do that, that might leave the game stretched meaning fans at the HDI-Arena could be in for another lively encounter.
Goals + 2.5 – 1.72
Hertha BSC - Werder Bremen
After starting strongly on their return to the Bundesliga, Hertha’s campaign fizzled out in the second half of the season. Adrian Ramos’ goals though were a big reason behind the club’s survival and he’s moved to Borussia Dortmund over the summer. Julian Schieber has moved in the other direction but he’s unlikely to be as prolific as Ramos was.
Still, there are certainly positives, above all with the signing of Basel’s Valentin Stocker and that Werder Bremen are the first visitors to the Olympiastadion this season. Robin Dutt’s side look set to struggle again this season, especially having lost talisman Aaron Hunt. Expect an opening day win for Hertha.
Hertha to win – 2.00
TSG Hoffenheim 1899 - FC Augsburg
Augsburg were last season’s surprise package with Markus Weinzierl being named by 11Freunde magazine as the division’s coach of the year. The price of success for Weinzierl has been losing speedy forward André Hahn and reliable full back Matthias Osztrolek to Gladbach and Hamburg respectively. That’ll make this season tougher and their trip to Hoffenheim isn’t an easy start.
Whether it was tumbling mascots, phantom goals or actual goals, there weren’t many dull points in the Hoffe’s last campaign as 142 goals in 34 games show. That the Hoffe managed a top half finish was all the more impressive given the 70 goals they conceded. Despite some defensive reinforcements over the summer, Augsburg should have enough to secure a draw here.
Draw – 3.55
Borussia Dortmund - Bayer Leverkusen
For the last three summers, Borussia have lost a star player in Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze and now Robert Lewandowski. BVB should still run Bayern closer this season, providing they're not hit by a similar injury crisis as they were last season.
It'll be close when they face Leverkusen who have made good signings in the form of Hakan Calhanoglu and Josip Drmic. It's a man who they signed last season though, Heung-Min Son, who has made his mark at the Signal Iduna Park in his past two trips. Whilst BVB might well win it, you can still see Leverkusen scoring and Son being the man to do it.
Heung Min Son – anytime scorer – 3.95
SC Paderborn - Mainz 05
The Benteler Arena only holds 15,000 but it will be packed on Sunday for Paderborn’s first match in the German top flight. Against Mainz, André Breitenreiter’s side will become the 53rd club to play in the Bundesliga but their stay is expected to be a short one.
For their first oppponents, the season has already been disastrous without the Bundesliga even kicking off. New coach Kasper Hjulmand has seen his side dumped out of the Europa League and the DFB-Pokal with the Dane already under pressure to keep his job. Even though Paderborn are set to go straight back down this season, Mainz’s early season struggles make the newly promoted side good value to get off to a winning start.
Paderborn to win – 2.90
Borussia Mönchengladbach - VfB Stuttgart
A little more consistency would have seen Gladbach make the Champions League places last season but under Lucien Favre, it’s still a very attainable target for the Foals. This summer, their best acquisition looks to be the fastest player in the Bundesliga last season, that being André Hahn from Augsburg.
After surviving by a narrow margin last season, Stuttgart have hired the man who coached them to the Bundesliga title in 2007, Armin Veh. That was his first season with the club but he’ll do well to get the Swabians into the top half in this campaign. Their game at Gladbach might be a sign of what’s to come.
Gladbach to win – 1.95
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