sport

Wolfsburg first up for Bayern

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will launch the defence of their title against Wolfsburg after the fixtures for the 2014/15 Bundesliga season were announced on Tuesday.

The Wolves - 2009 champions - pay the Allianz Arena a visit on Friday, August 22 to start the 52nd season of Germany's top flight.

Bayern have won the title in each of the past two seasons with Borussia Dortmund triumphing in the two previous years.

Dortmund will once again be expected to be Bayern's biggest rival next season, but they have to negotiate a tricky opening against Bayer Leverkusen, who finished fourth last season.

Third-placed Schalke travel to Hannover with Borussia Monchengladbach, who finished sixth last season behind Wolfsburg, hosting Stuttgart.

Paderborn, who became the 53rd club ever to appear in the Bundesliga following their historic promotion last season, start their first-ever top-flight campaign at home to last season's seventh-placed side Mainz.

Meanwhile, Cologne make their return to the Bundesliga at home to the only side never to have been relegated, Hamburg.

The second round of matches sees Bayern travel to Schalke, who host Dortmund in the Ruhr derby on the sixth matchday, at the end of September.

Arguably the biggest match on the calendar, between the top two in recent years, takes place on the first weekend in November with Bayern enjoying home advantage to start with against Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund.

Should Bayern not have wrapped up the title as quickly as they did in the past two seasons, their final two games see them travel to Freiburg and then host Mainz on the final weekend of the season.