Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller and Bayern Munich stars prepare for ninth straight Bundesliga title shot - in pictures

Bundesliga begins on Friday with Bayern v Schalke

European champions Bayern Munich begin the hunt for a ninth-straight Bundesliga title on Friday, just 26 days after lifting the Champions League trophy to complete the treble.

Bayern stand to play 57 games in a condensed 2020/21 fixture list, due to the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and will be able to play in front of a small number of fans for the first time since March.

Leroy Sane, signed in July from Manchester City, joined Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and his new teammates as they stepped up preparations to face Schalke at the Allianz Arena.

However, they have already lost three of the Champions League-winning squad.

Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho and Alvaro Odriozola have returned to Inter Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively after their loan deals expired.

"We have to make up for it," coach Hansi Flick admitted with Bayern facing Sevilla in the Uefa Super Cup and Borussia Dortmund for the German Super Cup in the coming fortnight.

Flick's star-studded squad finished last season on an all-conquering 21-game winning run, including the 8-2 thrashing of Spanish giants Barcelona in the Champions League's semi-finals.

"The current team of Hansi Flick is perhaps the best Bayern team ever," Hans-Joachim Watzke, chief executive of arch rivals Borussia Dortmund, declared last month.

"They no longer beat their opponents - they destroy them."

Bayern's impressive run is down to the irresistible form of stars like Mueller and Robert Lewandowski.

Muller managed a league-record 21 assists, making a mockery of Joachim Low's decision to end his Germany career in March 2019.

Lewandowski netted 55 goals in 47 games last season, leaving him as the top-scorer in both the Bundesliga, where he hit 34 goals, and the Champions League, where he scored 15 times.

Updated: September 16, 2020 03:10 PM

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