The Bundesliga returns, and with it the hope that somebody can make life harder for Bayern Munich. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are two of the most likely and face each other on Sunday, with new men in both dugouts.
Borussia Dortmund against RB Leipzig is a Bundesliga fixture that needs little extra spice. But with the arrival of a new season and two new men in charge, the excitement over the fixture has reached a new level.
Lucien Favre vs. Ralf Rangnick — two coaches with opposing philosophies face one another at different stages of their club's development. Dortmund are trying to find the fun in football again, and hope a set of new signings and Favre's patient, possession football can get them there.
Over at Leipzig, Rangnick has stepped in for the 'interim year' as the club eagerly anticipates the arrival of Julian Nagelsmann next season. Whether having the big boss back in the dugout affects how the team plays this year will be intriguing. After all, no Champions League football next year for Nagelsmann would be an awkward place to start.
On paper, this game boasts a number of critical battles. Dayot Upamecano and Willi Orban, one of the league's best defensive pairs, will have their work cut out up against Dortmund's talented attack. In addition to that, whether Kevin Kampl and Diego Demme can control the midfield in the post Naby-Keita era, and whether Timo Werner or Marco Reus proves sharper in front of goal could decide the game.
The Signal Iduna Park is not the easiest stadium for away sides to play in, let alone for RB Leipzig. The contrast in cultures between the two is the fiercest in Germany, and led to some scary scenes two seasons ago.
On the pitch, Leipzig's team seem to have no problem with their label as a "plastic club" though. Their record against Dortmund is seven points from four games. Given the club's season started almost a month ago with Europa League qualifiers, RB Leipzig may well have the edge over Dortmund but at home on the opening day, the hosts will be hoping Favre has the answers up his sleeve.