Bayern the tip amid Bundesliga fans doubt

Bayern Munich won an unprecedented eighth Bundesliga title in a row in late June.
Bayern Munich won an unprecedented eighth Bundesliga title in a row in late June.

The 2020-21 Bundesliga season kicks off on Friday with reigning champions and treble winners Bayern Munich opening against Schalke.

The Bavarian giants Bayern are the heavy favourites to claim their ninth title in a row and coach Hansi Flick believes desire will not be an issue for his players

"I don't think my team has a problem with motivation," he said.

"The players at Bayern want success and they want to confirm success."

So far the only new big name in the squad is Leroy Sane, who was bought from Manchester City for 50 million euros ($A81m).

Meanwhile Flick saw Ivan Perisic, Philippe Countinho and Alvaro Odriozola leave, while the situations of David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez remain open.

The club recognised this will be an atypical season as the new calendar imposed by the coronavirus pandemic will be more stressful for the players - and they are worried about the upcoming schedule.

"Next season will be brutally difficult, one should be a bit clever," Bayern's top scorer Robert Lewandowski told Kicker magazine.

This doesn't make the situation any better for Borussia Dortmund, with the Ruhr valley club to be greatly affected by the absence of fans.

In typical Dortmund style they have added two exciting teenage talents to their squad (former Birmingham midfielder Jude Bellingham and Real Madrid loanee Reinier), which will allow Favre to play fluid, attacking football.

RB Leipzig come from their best-ever Champions League season, after reaching semi-finals for the first time.

The good performance in Europe's elite competition is definitely an extra boost for the east German side but they will have to cover the loss of striker Timo Werner, who moved to Chelsea.

Behind Dortmund and Leipzig, Borussia Moenchengladbach are the only other team who have been able to cause Bayern some trouble - having defeated the champions three times in the past three league campaigns.

At the other half of the table the season means a makeover for Schalke and Werder Bremen, with both fallen giants having a terrible past season.

Schalke haven't won a league game in a club record 17 matches while Bremen only remained in Germany's top tier after a dramatic relegation playoff against second division Heidenheim.

As for the newcomers, the Bundesliga welcomes back second division champions Arminia Bielefeld after 11 years.

Returning to the elite are also VfB Stuttgart, with the club still far away from their glorious days.

The big question around the new Bundesliga season, however, is when fans will be allowed in the stadiums - and how that will work.

The German federal government is working on on a nationwide uniform rule, which could be announced as early as Wednesday, while some clubs have approval for fans to attend games.

Bayern are not allowed fans into their season opener but Werder and Leipzig can welcome up to 8,500 spectators to their weekend games.

Bielefeld can host 6,500 fans while Union Berlin can have 5,000 in the capital.

Australian Associated Press