With just two days to go, here's the first of my Bundesliga match previews here on Scorum. I will be at the Allianz Arena in Munich to see FC Bayern take on TSG Hoffenheim, which kicks the 2018/19 season off on Friday evening, with the remaining matches taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
You will also find some predictions here... But they are more for fun that anything else. I am not the greatest tipster in the world, so nobody should be taking my predictions as gospel... Anyway, here we go!
FC Bayern München v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Fri.)
The defending champions start their season at home against one of the form teams of the moment, Julian Nagelsmann's Hoffenheim.
After a reasonable preseason, Niko Kovač's side dispatched Eintracht Frankfurt in the Super Cup, before struggling against fourth-tier SV Drochtersen/Assel in their opening DFB-Pokal tie. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, have been ice cool in their approach to the new season. The Hoff have added some interesting new names to their squad, and hammered third-tier 1. FC Kaiserlautern 6:1 in their cup opener.
Hoffenheim challenged Bayern hard in both meetings last season, and will surely do so again. This one will be well contested, but with the Bavarians taking the points.
Prediction: FC Bayern 3:1 Hoffenheim
Hertha BSC v 1. FC Nürnberg (Sat.)
After a reasonable tenth-place finish last season, Hertha BSC will be looking to make the European qualifying spots this season. They take on newly-promoted Nürnberg, who return to the 1. Bundesliga for the first time in four years.
Both teams scraped past lower-ranked opponents in the DFB-Pokal with tight 2:1 wins, and there is little to discern in the way of form. Hertha were strong at home last season, while it will be hard to gauge how much of a challenge top flight football will be for Michael Köllner's Nürnberg.
Newly-promoted teams tend to start strongly, but home advantage will be a key factor for the Berliners.
Prediction: Hertha BSC 1:0 Nürnberg
Werder Bremen v Hannover 96 (Sat.)
After a shocking start to the 2017/18 season, Werder Bremen were one of the form sides of the Rückrunde. If they are able to maintain that standard in 2018/19, they will be hard to beat. Hannover, having returned to the top flight last season, consolidated their position without rocking too many boats.
Form-wise, both teams had excellent wins in their DFB-Pokal openers. Bremen hammered fourth-tier Wormatia Worms 6:1, while André Breitenreiter's Hannover side also scored a round half dozen without reply against Karlsruher SC.
This could be a close encounter, with Werder making good use of home advantage.
Prediction: Werder 2:1 Hannover
SC Freiburg v Eintracht Frankfurt (Sat.)
Since their cup win last season, it has not been a great time for Eintracht Frankfurt. New coach Adi Hütter has not had the best of starts, with his side suffering a five-goal Super Cup hammering against Bayern and a shock 1:2 defeat against fourth-tier SSV Ulm 1846 as their cup defence failed at the first hurdle.
Christian Streich's Freiburg just about avoided relegation last season, but are one of the more unpredictable sides in the German top flight. They too struggled in their first round cup match, but managed to edge out 3. Liga side Energie Cottbus on penalties.
Playing at home, and with better form coming into the opening week, this should be a nice start for the men from the Black Forest.
Prediction: Freiburg 2:0 Frankfurt
VfL Wolfsburg v Schalke 04 (Sat.)
2009 Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg have had a torrid couple of seasons, twice avoiding relegation via the playoff round. There are signs that things are improving, but not by that much. Schalke 04, meanwhile, had a barnstorming 2017/18, finishing in second place - their highest position for eight years.
After a bright preseason, Domenico Tedesco's Schalke dispatched fourth-tier 1. FC Schweinfurt 05 in their DFB-Pokal opener, while Bruno Labbadia's Wolves had a slightly tougher time against their Regionalliga opposition, edging to a 1:0 win over SV Elversberg.
The Wolves will make it tough at the Volkswagen Arena, but the Royal Blues from Gelsenkirchen should have enough firepower to pick up the points.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 0:2 Schalke
Fortuna Düsseldorf v FC Augsburg (Sat.)
Having stormed to the 2. Bundesliga title, Fortuna Düsseldorf will be looking to make their stay in the top flight longer than their last one, when they went back down immediately. Their opponents Augsburg on the other hand have continually punched above their weight since reaching the top flight in 2011.
Things are looking bright for Friedhelm Funkel's Fortuna side, who hammered non-league TuS RW Koblenz 5:0 in their recent DFB-Pokal opener. Augsburg on the other hand were Augsburg, grinding out a 2:1 win over fourth-tier TSV Steinbach Haiger.
The contrasting styles will make for an interesting encounter. It will be close, with the Bavarians doing enough to grab a point.
Prediction: Düsseldorf 1:1 Augsburg
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen (Sat.)
Behind Bayern v Hoffenheim, this is the match of the opening weekend. Both teams will have hopes of a Champions League spot, and will surely be in the mix come the end of the season.
Unlike a team like FC Augsburg, Leverkusen have always tended to punch below their weight. Gladbach on the other hand are far more consistent, which when added to recent form makes them solid favourites on home soil at the Borussia-Park. In their cup openers, Die Werkself laboured to a 1:0 win over fourth-tier 1. CfR Pforzheim, while Die Fohlen romped to an 11:1 win over BSC Hastedt.
This is a strange one. One cannot see past Gladbach at home, but Leverkusen have been known to pull off spectacular results from nowhere. I am going with the form book.
Prediction: Gladbach 3:1 Leverkusen
FSV Mainz 05 v VfB Stuttgart (Sun.)
It was a struggle for Mainz last season, while Stuttgart finished in a more than respectable seventh place after returning to the top flight. Both teams are solid without being massive spectacular, which makes for an unpredictable encounter.
Coming into this opening Bundesliga weekend, Die Null-Fünfer are the team in form. Despite being reduced to ten men early on in their DFB-Pokal opener against second division Erzgebirge Aue, Sandro Schwarz's men produced a determined show to march to a 3:1 win. In stark contrast, a lifeless Stuttgart fell to a shock defeat against third-tier Hansa Rostock.
Unless the Swabians can quickly put their cup defeat behind them, Mainz should start the season with all three points.
Prediction: Mainz 3:0 Stuttgart
Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig (Sun.)
The big Sunday evening clash, between two teams who are expected to be competing at the top end this season. Dortmund have brought in a number of new faces this summer, while Leipzig have also been keen to open their wallet.
Form-wise, Lucien Favre's Dortmund had a great preseason, but came scarily close to being eliminated in their first round cup tie against second division SpVgg Greuther Fürth - saving themselves in injury time before netting the winner right at the end of extra time. It was just as much a struggle for Leipzig, who were a goal down for most of the match against fourth-tier Viktoria Köln before securing a 3:1 win.
Dortmund will be favourites in front of their home fans, but Die Roten Bullen will look back to last season's dramatic encounter, where they claimed all three points with a 3:2 victory. It is going to be close.
Prediction: Dortmund 2:2 Leipzig
For more Bundesliga fun stuff, check out my Little Bundesliga Book project. Copies of the 2016 pocket book are still available, with the aim of raising funds for a new edition at the end of this season.