One of Europe's highest scoring divisions returns on Friday night with the 55th edition of the Bundesliga. It will open up with champions Bayern Munich at home to Bayer Leverkusen. Can anyone stop the Bavarians recording a sixth successive title? Part one analyses the chances of nine teams, including perennial challengers Borussia Dortmund, last season's surprise packages TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Bundesliga ever-presents Hamburger SV.

FC Augsburg

FC Augsburg has been a mainstay of the Bundesliga since 2011 but came dangerously close to losing their top-flight status last season.

Only a late revival kept them afloat. Long-serving captain Paul Verhaegh has gone to VfL Wolfsburg but coach Manuel Baum has added well in the transfer market. They now have a wealth of options, but is it enough to improve on last season's 13th-place finish?

STAR PLAYER: Alfred Finnbogason - Injury ruined Finnbogason's first full campaign at the WWK Arena but the Icelandic international knows where the back of the net is. If Augsburg keeps him fit, expect him to reach double figures.

ONE TO WATCH: Kevin Danso - Developed through the academy at Milton Keynes Dons, Danso made his Bundesliga debut in March and looks set to be a fast developer this season. Can play at both right-back and central defence.

POINT TO PROVE: Rani Khedira - Khedira has given up Champions League football at Leipzig for a run of games with a regular mid-table outfit. It is time for him to step out of his brother, Sami's shadow.

PREDICTED FINISH: 12th - Another stable season with enough to survive but little evidence to make rapid progress up the division.

Hertha Berlin

In two seasons, Pal Dardai has taken Hertha Berlin from perennial strugglers to European contenders. Two top-seven finishes have followed and this season, Hertha supporters can look forward to Europa League football until at least Christmas. Davie Selke has been their big summer addition from RB Leipzig. However, have they got the squad to challenge on several fronts?

STAR PLAYER: Vedad Ibisevic - Ibisevic is like a fine bottle of white wine. He seems to get better with age. He scored his 100th Bundesliga goal in November 2016 and the serial goalscorer should once again lead from the front in the German capital.

ONE TO WATCH: Jordan Torunarigha - Has made rapid development strides already and benefited from an early spring injury crisis to stake his claim in the Hertha backline. Torunarigha is one to watch for years to come.

POINT TO PROVE: Mathew Leckie - Wide midfielder Leckie failed to score last season for relegated FC Ingolstadt 04 and collected two red cards. He must add goals to his game this season to justify why Hertha brought him to the club.

PREDICTED FINISH: 4th - This is the strongest Hertha squad for many years and if Dardai can balance their European commitments, they will be a serious contender for a top-four finish.

SV Werder Bremen

SV Werder Bremen narrowly missed out on a European finish last term after an 11-game unbeaten run that turned their season around. Manager Alexander Nouri has had a frustrating summer though with Bremen's budgets slashed and the playing squad heavily trimmed. Will it cost him in the long run?

STAR PLAYER: Max Kruse - Max Kruse divides opinion with many in Germany. He isn't the perfect role model but seems to have controlled his bad habits (Nutella addiction, poker). Bremen will be relying on him to score the goals again in 2017-2018.

ONE TO WATCH: Jerome Gondorf - Frenchman Jerome Gondorf shone last season in an SV Darmstadt 98 side that lost their brave battle to survive. Now in a more reputable squad, his progress is only likely to grow even further.

POINT TO PROVE: Aron Johannsson - Came with a glowing reputation but three goals in two seasons are not good enough. He must back Kruse up this season in the goals department or he will be deemed surplus to requirements.

PREDICTED FINISH: 14th - Defensively, they are a real cause for concern and because of their tendency to leak goals, there will be a lot of pressure on Max Kruse to score at the other end. A tough campaign lies ahead but should stay up.

Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund won the DFB-Cup last season but Thomas Tuchel was dispensed with days later, falling out with the board after the attack on the team bus in April which wrecked their Champions League chances and could have had more tragic circumstances.

Peter Bosz has arrived from Ajax to replace Tuchel but will the speculation around Ousmane Dembele scupper their title tilt?

STAR PLAYER: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Despite interest from several sides, Aubameyang looks set to start the campaign at least with Dortmund. He is one of the world's best forwards and will be desperate to add a league title to his CV.

ONE TO WATCH: Maximilian Philipp - A lot of money has been spent on Maximilian Philipp. He impressed last season at SC Freiburg and it will be intriguing to see how well he does in a bigger environment with a higher standard of teammate.

POINT TO PROVE: Mario Gotze - Gotze's quality is undeniable but his return to Dortmund flattered to deceive before illness ended his season prematurely in February.

He's worked hard to be ready but will his body last the distance of another testing campaign?

PREDICTED FINISH: 2nd - Depending on what happens with Dembele/Aubameyang's futures. If they both stay, they will be the closest challengers. If both leave before the transfer window shuts, a mid-table finish is more likely.

Eintracht Frankfurt

There was progress at Eintracht Frankfurt last season with a DFB-Cup final and a strong first half of the campaign which sadly petered out as winter turned to spring. Niko Kovac has recruited well this summer. Can the newcomers lift Frankfurt towards European football?

STAR PLAYER: Marco Fabian - A back injury means the Mexican will be missing the first two months of the campaign but when he returns, Frankfurt will be better.

Skillful and innovative, the midfielder is relishing the starring role he has at the Commerzbank-Arena.

ONE TO WATCH: Jetro Willems - An upgrade on Bastian Oczipka, Willems looks like being one of the best pieces of transfer business this summer. One of the bright sparks in Netherlands' dreary recent international efforts, the left-back will be an exciting figure in the Frankfurt lineup this season.

POINT TO PROVE: Jonathan de Guzman - After sparkling at Swansea City, de Guzman failed to hit those heights in Italy with disappointing spells at Napoli and Chievo. Now in a new country, he will want to start well to impress his new bosses and supporters.

PREDICTED FINISH: 7th - They are a dark horse to watch out for this season.

They have plenty of skill, one of the best goalkeepers in the league and 'Football God' Alexander Meier around to launch a serious European tilt.

SC Freiburg

Seventh place was a cracking finish for SC Freiburg last season. Manager Christian Streich has limited resources at his disposal but always seems to produce against the odds. However, will the departures of Vincenzo Grifo and Maximilian Philipp hurt them more than anticipated?

STAR PLAYER: Nils Petersen - Petersen has been a mainstay of the Bundesliga for several campaigns and has a canny knack for coming off the bench to score crucial goals. A match is never over when Petersen arrives. He has a reputation for changing outcomes.

ONE TO WATCH: Pascal Stenzel - Now signed full-time after a couple of loan campaigns from Borussia Dortmund.

Stenzel is a versatile player but will need to justify Freiburg's faith in making his stay a permanent one.

POINT TO PROVE: Marc Oliver Kempf - Injuries have masked his development recently. Kempf is another emerging force in the German youth ranks but will need to avoid the treatment table or his club position will be in jeopardy.

PREDICTED FINISH: 13th - The goal threat of Petersen and Florian Niederlechner should keep them away from trouble but a lack of squad depth suggests a slightly tougher campaign for Freiburg this time around.

Hamburger SV

It took an 88th-minute winner from Luca Waldschmidt on the final day of last season to preserve Hamburg's proud record of featuring in every Bundesliga season.

They might be as stubborn as Theresa May but does an early cup exit already suggest their luck is about to run out in 2017-2018?

STAR PLAYER: Nicolai Muller - This will be Nicolai Muller's last season at Hamburg. He has already decided not to sign a contract extension and will leave for nothing next summer. For the short-term though, he remains a Hamburg player and his performances are crucial to their chances.

ONE TO WATCH: Bobby Wood - The American international improved as last season went on and will be Hamburg's main goal threat this season. If he can convert more of the chances he creates, we might be looking at season no.56 in the Bundesliga for Hamburg.

POINT TO PROVE: Kyriakos Papadopoulos - Unwanted by Schalke, discarded at Bayer Leverkusen and rejected by RB Leipzig.

Three clubs can't be wrong about Papadopoulos, surely? A tough tackler and did enough to make his loan stay a permanent one but he has to stay consistent and control his fiery temper.

PREDICTED FINISH: 17th - Following their cup exit at the weekend, it looks like being a long season again for Hamburg. They've been the 'Sunderland' of German football for many seasons and luck will run out at some point. I fear that 2017-2018 will be the season where relegation will finally hit home.

Hannover 96

Hannover 96 return to the Bundesliga after just one season away from the limelight. They've added plenty of experience to their ranks with Pirmin Schwegler and Julian Korb among the new arrivals. Can they improve on their feeble 2015-2016 survival efforts?

STAR PLAYER: Martin Harnik - Harnik scored 17 goals last season as Hannover returned to the top-flight at the first attempt. He knows the league well and will have unfinished business after a disappointing end to his time at VfB Stuttgart in 2016.

ONE TO WATCH: Waldemar Anton - They think a lot of Anton at Hannover. Many believe he has the qualities to match their club legend Steven Cherundolo. His first full season in the Bundesliga should see him go places.

POINT TO PROVE: Pirmin Schwegler - Went from being Hoffenheim captain to their reserves in just 12 months. He has skippered two Bundesliga clubs previously and has a point to prove to himself, not just to his new employers.

PREDICTED FINISH: 15th - It will be a battle against relegation for Hannover and that is expected. If they can find a suitable back-up for Harnik in the goalscoring department, I'd expect it to be a successful battle against the drop.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

It took until 28th January for a team to defeat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last season. Julian Nagelsmann's men shocked everyone to record a top-four finish and earn the reward of a Champions League tie with English heavyweights Liverpool FC. Can one of Germany's finest young coaches take it a step further this season with his young squad?

STAR PLAYER: Andrej Kramaric - Considered a flop at Leicester City, Kramaric has shown his class in 18 months at Hoffenheim. He was the club's top scorer last season and will be hoping to leave defenders trailing in his wake again.

ONE TO WATCH: Serge Gnabry - Credit to Gnabry. He got his move to Bayern Munich in the summer but he wants to play and that's why he has gone to Hoffenheim on-loan. With every goal he scores, you wonder why he was allowed to leave Arsenal in the first place.

POINT TO PROVE: Lukas Rupp - He impressed in two relegation seasons at SC Paderborn 07 and VfB Stuttgart but Lukas Rupp's maiden Hoffenheim campaign was disappointing. It was masked by the excellent performances of others but he knows he must do better this term to avoid becoming a regular mover in the transfer market.

PREDICTED FINISH: 6th - There is an expectation now to do well. Nagelsmann is a top manager and another top-six finish is very likely but Hoffenheim will do very well to better last season's achievements.