Preview: Raul aims to sparkle

Preview: Raul aims to sparkle
By Reuters

19/08/2010 at 21:41Updated 19/08/2010 at 21:46

Team-by-team guide ahead of the new season. We look at the teams finishing in positions 1-6 last season

Bayern Munich (Champions, 70 points)

Double winners last season, Louis Van Gaal's team have so far kept out of the transfer market, apart from welcoming Toni Kroos back from his impressive season with Bayer Leverkusen.

His presence may help make up for the absence of Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who will sit out the first two months of the season with a thigh muscle injury which the club said he aggravated during the World Cup.

In: Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen, return from loan), Jose Sosa (Estudiantes, return from loan), Andreas Ottl (Nuremberg, returns from loan), Breno (Nuremberg, returns from loan)

Out: Luca Toni (Genoa), Georg Niedermeier (VfB Stuttgart)

Schalke 04 (2nd, 65 points)

Last year's Bundesliga runners-up, who pulled off a coup by signing Raul from Real Madrid, have added another Spaniard to their squad by signing under-21 international defender Sergio Escudero.

Brazilian right back Rafinha, who has had a testy relationship with coach Felix Magath, has left to join Genoa in Serie A and top scorer Kevin Kuranyi has also departed.

In: Tim Hoogland (Mainz 05), Christoph Metzelder (Real Madrid), Erik Jendrisek (Kaiserslautern), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Olympiakos), Raul (Real Madrid)

Out: Gerald Asamoah (St Pauli), Kevin Kuranyi (Dynamo Moscow), Mohamed Amsif (Augsburg), Lewis Holtby (Mainz 05, on loan), Jan Moravek (Kaiserslautern, on loan), Vicente Sanchez (undecided), Bordon (Al Rayyan), Carlos Zambrano (St Pauli, on loan), Heiko Westermann (Hamburg SV)

Werder Bremen (3rd, 61 points)

Werder are confident midfielder Mesut Ozil, attracting interest from a number of clubs after his excellent World Cup with Germany, will see out the remaining year of his contract.

Provided they can hold on to him, Thomas Schaaf's team could launch a serious challenge for the title this season. Former Germany midfielder Torsten Frings, 33, has said that he wants to see out the rest of the his career with Werder.

In: Marko Arnautovic (Twente Enschede), Felix Kroos (Hansa Rostock)

Out: Aymen Abdennour (ES Sahel, returns after loan), Martin Harnik (VfB Stuttgart), Torsten Oehrl (FC Augsburg)

Bayer Leverkusen (4th, 59 points)

Fully lived up to their "Neverkusen" billing when they went through their first 24 games unbeaten and led for a good deal of last season, only to end up fourth and miss out on the Champions League in the process.

Made one of the close season's biggest signings by bringing in Michael Ballack from Chelsea.

In: Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Sidney Sam (Hamburg SV), Domagoj Vida (NK Osijek), Zvonko Pamic (NK Karlovac)

Out: Thomas Zdebel (Alemannia Aachen), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich, loan ends), Theofanis Gekas (Eintracht Frankfurt), Zvonko Pamic (SC Freiburg, on loan)

Borussia Dortmund (5th, 57 points)

Striker Nelson Haedo Valdez is almost certain to leave the club before the start of the season, much to the disappointment of his fellow Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios, who struck up an excellent understanding with his compatriot last season.

In: Lukasz Piszczek (Hertha Berlin), Mitchell Langerak (Melbourne Victory), Shinji Kagawa (Cerezo Osaka), Robert Lewandowski (Lech Poznan)

Out: Tinga (Internacional), Marc Ziegler (VfB Stuttgart)

VfB Stuttgart (6th, 55 points)

The arrival of former Tottenham Hotspur coach Christian Gross inspired a revival which took Stuttgart from near the relegation zone to a sixth-place finish.

However, the departure of midfielder Sami Khedira to Real Madrid is a significant blow and they will also be without fiery goalkeeper Jens Lehmann who has retired.

In: Christian Gentner (VfL Wolfsburg), Marc Ziegler (Borussia Dortmund), Martin Harnik (Werder Bremen), Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern, returns from loan), Elson (Hanover 96, returns from loan)

Out: Jens Lehmann (retired), Aleksandr Hleb (Barcelona, returns after loan), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Clemens Walch (Kaiserslautern)