The 2017-18 2. Bundesliga season will begin as the last one ended, with FC St. Pauli travelling to VfL Bochum in the opening game.
The two teams, who will be quietly confident of pushing into the upper echelons of the table again this season, will meet at the Ruhrstadion on the 28 July, barely more than two months after St. Pauli finished the last campaign with a 3-1 win in the same stadium.
The other stand-out game from the opening weekend will see two of the biggest clubs in the league, 1. FC Nürnberg and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, lock horns in Franconia as they look to bounce back from disappointing seasons. They also last met on the final day of last season, with, Kaiserslautern winning 1-0.
Difficult opening games for Ingolstadt and Darmstadt
The two relegated sides, FC Ingolstadt 04 and SV Darmstadt 98, both start at home, but with tough encounters against 1. FC Union Berlin and SpVgg Greuther Fürth respectively.
Of the promoted sides, only Holstein Kiel start with a home game, where they will face SV Sandhausen. Last season’s 3. Liga champions MSV Duisburg travel to Dynamo Dresden, winners of the third tier the season before, whilst SSV Jahn Regensburg go to Arminia Bielefeld.
Duisburg and Regensburg will both start at home on the following weekend with big derby encounters. Duisburg play host to Bochum, whilst Regensburg welcome Nürnberg for their first meeting in over 13 years.
In fact the all-Bavarian clashes keep coming for Regensburg, who won promotion by beating 1860 Munich in the relegation play-off. They travel to Ingolstadt for their third match two weeks later, following the break for the DFB-Pokal. Ingolstadt themselves also have to go to Fürth before the end of August.
Eastern rivals to meet on final day
Other highlights will include the first Franconian derby of the season on matchday 8 between Fürth and Nürnberg, with the meeting between Ingolstadt and Darmstadt on matchday 9. The first Ostderby of the season comes on the same weekend, with Erzgebirge Aue hosting Union Berlin.
Matchday 18, the last before the winter break, will take place between the 15 and 18 December with the reverse of the opening fixtures. The league returns after five weeks off on the 23 January, ahead of an Englische Woche (a midweek round of fixtures).
There is a potential promotion showdown on the penultimate matchday, set for Sunday 6 May, when Eintracht Braunschweig, who missed out on going up last season in the play-off against VfL Wolfsburg, host Ingolstadt.
Ingolstadt will then finish the season against Kaiserslautern on the 13 May, whilst there could be plenty riding on the derby between Dresden and Union Berlin as well. Amongst the other favourites to go up, Braunschweig finish away at Kiel, whilst Fürth go to 1. FC Heidenheim.
The exact days and timings for the first two matchdays are expected to follow next week, with the rest to be announced on a rolling basis, as usual.
Matchday one fixtures: 28-31 July 2017
VfL Bochum vs FC St. Pauli (kick-off confirmed 28 July, 20.30 CEST)
FC Ingolstadt 04 vs 1. FC Union Berlin
SV Darmstadt 98 vs SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Dynamo Dresden vs MSV Duisburg
1. FC Heidenheim vs Erzgebirge Aue
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Eintracht Braunschweig
1. FC Nürnberg vs 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Arminia Bielefeld vs SSV Jahn Regensburg
Holstein Kiel vs SV Sandhausen