Bayern Munich Season Preview: How will Bayern move on from Ribery and Robben?
Will Serge Gnabry step up for Bayern this season/(Getty Images/VI-Images

At the beginning of every Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich are immediately tagged as champions elect but with that comes extreme pressure. Last season, new manager Niko Kovac found that out early on as for long periods of the season it looked like they might drop their title to Borussia Dortmund. Bayern rallied and overhauled a nine point gap to win the title. 

Along with a league campaign that would have been too close for Bayern's liking, they had a disappointing Champions League where they were knocked out in the last 16 by Liverpool. As much as they would love another Bundesliga title, Bayern will be desperate to win their first Champions League since 2013. 

Transfer Business Overview

This has been the biggest summer of change at Bayern in a good while. Usually at clubs like Bayern the main focus during the summer transfer window is who they have signed but this summer all the focus is on who has left. Legendary wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have departed, as has Mats Hummels, who has returned to rivals Dortmund. Bayern also decided not to make James Rodriguez's loan from Real Madrid permanent. 

Instead of opening the cheque book and replacing the pair with elite wingers, Bayern have opted to look closer to home with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry earmarked to take those places in their team. Gnabry was recalled from a loan at Hoffenheim last season in preparation for Robben's departure, which resulted in him scoring 10 goals and five assists on his way to being voted Bayern's player of the season. Ivan Perisic has been brought in on an initial one year loan from Inter Milan with the option to make that permanent at the end of the season. 

Defensively with Hummels leaving and Jerome Boateng declining, World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez was brought in for £72 million from Atletico Madrid. Another World Cup winner has arrived at the Allianz Arena in the shape of Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart for £32 million. 

This World Cup winning duo will spark fresh life into an ageing Bayern defence, which over the last couple of seasons has been their downfall. Games away to Real Madrid in the Champions League where they collapsed due to their defence not being good enough spring to mind, something they hope these two will help eradicate. 

Young striker Fiete Arp has arrived from Hamburg rounding off Bayern's summer business. 

Manager: Niko Kovac 

To say Kovac is under pressure this season would be an understatement. Following a disappointing season last year, the jury will still be well and truly out for the Croat. Despite winning a league and cup double it still didn't quite feel enough and that was down to their poor run in the Champions League. 

Kovac can be safe in the knowledge that he has already achieved two of the three goals he will have this season but the third, a solid run to at least the semi-finals of the Champions League, is what may make or break his reign as Bayern manager. Anything other than that, it wouldn't be a huge shock if he wasn't in the Allianz dugout next season. 

Player To Watch: Serge Gnabry 

Following on from a good season last year, Gnabry will be expected to deliver on a more regular basis now that he will be starting every week. 

From once being deemed not good enough for Tony Pulis' West Brom it is great to see that Gnabry's career has developed since then, in his homeland. His pace and power make him a handful for any defence and at 24 he probably hasn't played enough football for someone of his talent, so another season and experience under his belt will allow him to be key for Bayern.

One For The Future: Fiete Arp

Signed this summer, there is a sense of intrigue around Arp, as there usually is when young players make high profile transfers. At 19, he has already played over 50 league games for previous club Hamburg. 

Comparisons have been made to his game to Harry Kane in the way that he can score all sorts of goals, whether that be tap ins, headers, long range strikes, Arp can do it all. With a large frame too he can go toe to toe with the biggest defenders in the league. At 17 he turned down a move to Chelsea which shows big clubs have been sniffing around him for a while.

Bayern will view Arp as a successor to Robert Lewandowski, who at 30, is reaching the latter stages of his career. 

Predicted Finish

Despite being ran close from Dortmund, Bayern should have enough to retain the Bundesliga title. Anything other than a title win will be viewed as a massive failure and it could cost Kovac his job. Winning the German Cup will also be a minimum requirement.

In terms of the Champions League, Bayern don't have the team they once had so winning it may be a stretch. Their board and supporters will see them expected to do so but sides such as Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus look like they should be too strong for Bayern. However, it would still be foolish to completely write them off.