The fixture list for the 2017/18 Bundesliga season has been revealed and reigning champions Bayern Munich face a tough opener against Bayer Leverkusen and their new boss Heiko Herrlich as they look to retain the crown for a sixth consecutive campaign.
Season opener throws up unexpected derby fixture
Other notable fixtures on the opening day include an enticing Rheinland derby between FC Koln and Borussia Monchengladbach at the RheinEnergieStadion while last season's surprise package RB Leipzig start off with an away trip to FC Schalke 04.
The two promoted sides, VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96, both bounced back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking and they face away trips to Hertha Berlin and Mainz 05 respectively on the weekend beginning August 18.
The remaining opening day fixtures see Hoffenheim host Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg host Eintracht Frankfurt, while FC Augsburg and Borussia Dortmund face trips to Hamburger SV and VfL Wolfsburg respectively, with the latter being new boss Peter Bosz's first league game in charge of Der BVB.
When are the key derby dates in the Bundesliga?
Derby matches in the Bundesliga are always exciting for neutrals as well as fans of the two teams involved and this season will be no different with the first derby fixture coming on day one as Koln host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Rheinland derby.
The first Der Klassiker of the season takes place at Signal Iduna Park on Matchday 11 with the visit of Bayern Munich, who will then host Dortmund in the return fixture on Matchday 28.
The famously fierce Revierderby between Dortmund and neighbours Schalke takes place at Signal Iduna Park on Matchday 13 while the reverse fixture in Gelsenkirchen is due to be played on Matchday 30.
Hamburger and Werder Bremen will play out the Nordderby on Matchdays seven and 24 with the first fixture taking place at the Volksparkstadion.
The pride of Rhein-Main is at stake once again this season with Eintracht Frankfurt and Mainz 05 set to lock horns on Matchdays 10 and 27 after they spent last season at opposite ends of the table for much of the campaign.
Stuttgart and Bayern Munich have played out a rather one-sided Südderby with the spoils going Bayern's way in recent years, but the Swabians have the chance to get their revenge on Matchdays 17 and 34 with the latter potentially a crucial game in both the title and relegation battles.
Relegation and title run-ins offer up tough fixtures
Speaking of the battle for the title the reigning champions Bayern will face trips to Hannover and Koln while hosting Borussia Monchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt and Stuttgart in their final five games of the season.
Dortmund are likely to be the main challengers, as usual, barring any surprises akin to Leipzig last season, and they have one less home game in their last five as they host Leverkusen and Mainz 05 while facing trips to Schalke and Werder Bremen before ending the season at Hoffenheim.
Of the two promoted sides Stuttgart will hope they have safety all but wrapped up before the final six games of the seasons as trips to Dortmund, Leverkusen and Bayern are spliced between home fixtures against Hannover, Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim.
Hannover face Stuttgart on Matchday 30 as previously mentioned and their run-in includes away fixtures against Hoffenheim and the season closer against Leverkusen in conjuction with home fixtures against Bayern and Hertha Berlin.