After winning the Bundesliga for the ninth successive season last time out, Bayern Munich will be entering a new era under the tutelage of Julian Nagelsmann when their 2021-22 season begins away to Borussia Monchengladbach on August 13.
The 34-year-old has joined from last season's Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig to replace Hansi Flick, who has opted to depart the Bavarians for the German national team job.
Flick undoubtedly leaves big shoes for Nagelsmann to fill, though, having delivered a Champions League, DFB-Pokal, UEFA Super Cup and World Club Cup on top of two Bundesliga titles in less than two full seasons in charge of the club.
However, almost regardless of who occupies the Bayern dugout, there is little doubt that they continue to have comfortably the strongest playing squad in the division, and will therefore enter the season as rightful heavy favourites to retain their crown for an astonishing 10th consecutive campaign.
Here, Sports Mole looks ahead to Bayern's 2021-22 season.
As already mentioned, Bayern kick off the Bundesliga season as a whole in Monchengladbach on Friday evening, before facing Borussia Dortmund in the German Supercup four days later.
Nagelsmann and Leipzig fans alike would have noticed very quickly following the fixture list announcement that the 34-year-old's former club and Bayern meet each other in the first game back following the first international break on September 11, before Die Roten Bullen travel to the Allianz Arena on February 5.
In the league, Bayern will face rivals BVB away from home on December 4, before again facing each other in the fourth-from-last game of the season on 23 April, in what most neutrals will be hoping turns out to be a pivotal match in terms of the title race.
David Alaba (free, Real Madrid)
Jerome Boateng (released)
Javi Martinez (free, Qatar SC)
Alexander Nubel (loan, Monaco)
Lars Lukas Mai (loan, Werder Bremen)
Joshua Zirkzee (loan, Anderlecht)
Adrian Fein (loan, Greuther Furth)
Total spent to date: £38.25m
Total received to date: £0m
Net transfer balance: -£38.25m
STAR PLAYER - Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski may turn 33 years old later in August, but the Poland striker continues to soar to new heights in his career and shows no signs of stopping after scoring three times in three games for his country at Euro 2020 earlier this summer.
Indeed, despite suffering a knee injury which led to him missing around a month of last season, Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's 39-year record of scoring 40 goals in a Bundesliga season by bagging his 41st strike against Augsburg on the final day of the 2020-21 campaign.
Lewandowski's record in Germany's top flight now stands at an astonishing 277 goals in 350 appearances for Dortmund and Bayern combined, putting him second in the all-time list behind Muller.
Given Lewandowski's age, scoring 89 more goals to surpass the legendary forward's tally may prove a tough ask, but equally it would be foolish to bet against him considering how supremely well he looks after his body.
Regardless, in the short-term at least, there is simply no understating his importance to Bayern. Had he been fit and available for the Bavarians' Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain, there is every chance Bayern would have reached a ninth semi-final in 12 seasons considering the amount of chances Flick's side spurned in the first leg, which ultimately cost them dearly as they were narrowly eliminated on away goals.
MANAGER - Julian Nagelsmann
Astonishingly, Julian Nagelsmann is less than 13 months older than his star striker Lewandowski, but the 34-year-old has clearly used youth to his advantage in a career field which traditionally favours experience.
The Bayern hierarchy have showed how highly they regard the former Hoffenheim boss by paying a world-record €25m fee to bring Nagelsmann to the club from potential title rivals Leipzig.
After guiding Hoffenheim into the Champions League for the only two times in their history, Nagelsmann took Leipzig all the way to the semi-finals of Europe's elite competition, before finishing as runners-up in the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal last season.
However, there is one major omission on his fledgling CV: a trophy. While simply competing at the latter stages of such competitions may be considered a success at clubs of the size of Hoffenheim and Leipzig, that is certainly not the case at a winning machine like Bayern.
As such, it may take time for Nagelsmann to adapt to the change in environment and mentality, but he certainly possesses the temperament and ability to become a major success in Bavaria in the coming years.
LAST SEASON - 1st - Champions
After coming out on top in two thrilling title races with Dortmund in each of the previous two seasons, Bayern never really looked like losing their crown last campaign.
Similarly to BVB in the previous season, Nagelsmann's Leipzig started fantastically but ultimately faltered, while Dortmund endured a transitional season after sacking Lucien Favre in December last year before having to wait until the summer to bring Marco Rose in from Monchengladbach.
As such, particularly after suffering a shock second-round exit to second tier outfit Holstein Kiel in the second round of the DFB-Pokal, Bayern's domestic campaign ultimately became more fixated on helping Lewandowski smash the aforementioned record books.
In Europe, the Poland striker's knee injury cost them dearly against PSG, who were spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe in producing a thrilling counter-attacking performance in the first leg at the Allianz Arena, which ultimately proved too difficult to come back from without Lewandowski's quality in front of goal available to them in Paris.
With Dortmund and Leipzig losing two of their key players in the form of Jadon Sancho and Dayot Upamecano respectively, it is difficult to envisage how they can bridge a 13+ point gap to Bayern in the coming season.
Nagelsmann's methodology and style has taken time to implement in the past, though, so a fast start from either rival will surely be required if the Bavarians are to be prevented from winning a remarkable 10th successive title.
Ultimately, though, the 34-year-old will most heavily be judged by his team's performance in the Champions League, which they will desperately be hoping to lift for the seventh time in order to move joint-second with AC Milan behind only Real Madrid on all-time European Cup wins.
Given the lack of trophy on his CV, Nagelsmann may also take the DFB-Pokal more seriously than many expect as the Bavarians look to win a third domestic cup in fourth seasons.
VERDICT: 1st - Champions body check tags ::