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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Star-Laden Bayern Fears Itself

BONN -- Chairman Franz Beckenbauer has warned Bayern Munich it will need composure as well as its big pre-season signings if the team wants to beat champions Borussia Dortmund to the German league title.


The two clubs have splashed out about $16 million between them on new players during the summer in preparation for another duel for Bundesliga supremacy, starting this weekend.


But that will count for little if Germany's richest club Bayern allows a repeat of the internal squabbling which damaged last season's campaign.


"You don't win titles with arguments, and those petty jealousies cost us the championship," former World Cup-winning captain and coach Beckenbauer said. "That's why Dortmund won the title."


Dortmund has bought classy Portuguese midfielder Paulo Sousa and promising young defender Rene Schneider while Bayern has attracted international midfielder Mario Basler and Italian striker Ruggiero Rizzitelli to Munich.


Adding Basler, from Werder Bremen, and Rizzitelli, from Torino, to a squad that already included German captain Juergen Klinsmann and internationals Lothar Matthaeus and Mehmet Scholl has made Bayern the bookmakers' favorites to win a record 14th title.


But the Munich dressing room is like a firework waiting to be lit.


Klinsmann and former German captain Matthaeus had a bitter public row last season and Basler and Scholl both have reputations for being outspoken.


In contrast, Dortmund showed more discipline during the tense battle last season.


Its coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: "The team has grown together through winning the title. The harmony is better now than it was last year."


Bayern and Dortmund left the pack far behind last season, and as no other clubs have the deep pockets to match them, they look set to dominate again.


The main challenge could come from Bremen, Borussia Moenchengladbach and VfB Stuttgart.


Dortmund goes into the new season with injury worries. Sousa, signed from Juventus, and former Hansa Rostock star Schneider may be forced to sit out the first part of the campaign.


Hitzfeld will also be without Germany midfielder Steffen Freund, who picked up a long-term knee injury during the European championship in England in June. The champion's problems were exposed in the German Cup last Sunday when it crashed out in the first round to regional league side Wattenscheid.


"We haven't got back to form yet," experienced defender Juergen Kohler said. "We'll need another three or four games."


Dortmund begins the defense of its title on Saturday with a tough away game at Bayer Leverkusen, revitalized under new coach Christoph Daum, the former Stuttgart trainer.


Bayern has the chance to get a head start when it takes on relegation candidate St. Pauli on Friday night.


All eyes will be on the controversial Basler, not just during the game, where his deadly free kicks could be a great asset, but also after the match when he talks to reporters.


The 27-year-old has a reputation for outspoken attacks on other figures in the game, and his move to the controversial Bayern dressing room has raised eyebrows.


In the pre-season friendlies, Basler was remarkably quiet and appears to have learned from his new club's past mistakes.


"If things stay calm in Munich, then there can only be one Bundesliga winner this season," he said. "Bayern."