By Suhas BhatFollow @@suhasrbhat
The Stags secured a second successive title last season with a four-point margin over nearest challengers DPMM FC and have a new coach in Nenad Bacina. They have also bolstered their squad with the signing of Singapore internationals such as Shahdan Sulaiman, Shaiful Esah and also star striker Khairul Amri, who scored three goals in the Lions' 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup triumph.
Moreover, they have also secured a marquee signing in Argentinean Martin Wagner who previously played in the Primera Division with Racing Club back in his homeland.
The four players could feature for Tampines in the season-opening Eastern derby on February 20, although Bacina's official first game in charge will be against the Warriors in the next Friday's Charity Shield.
The Eagles have also undergone significant changes of their own and have snapped up the likes of Shotaro Ihata, Takuma Ito and Norihiro Kawakami in what will be coach V. Kanan's first full season in charge.
The most-enticing match of the first round sees Home United host last season's runners-up DPMM FC a day later.
The Protectors did not have the best of seasons last year as they finished in fifth place, 12 points adrift of the champions. And they start the new season with an early challenge in the visit of the Starhub League Cup winners, who have brought in Guadeloupe captain Stephane Auvray to replace the creative talents of Ivan Jerkovic.
The match will take place at the Bishan Stadium and Home fans will have to adjust to life without famous names such as Frederic Mendy, Qiu Li and Shi Jiayi, who have all left the club.
In a bid to freshen up his squad after a disappointing campaign, Lee Lim Saeng retained just five players from 2012, including ex-Singapore star Indra Sahdan Daud and utility players Nor Azli Yusoff and Masrezwan Masturi.
Courts Young Lions are the other side to kick off the new season on Wednesday and they do so with a tie against Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Warriors FC, formerly known as SAFFC, visit Woodlands Wellington a day later while Tanjong Pagar United take on Balestier Khalsa later on Sunday.
The final fixture of the week sees Harimau Muda play Albirex Niigata in an intriguing clash on Sunday as both sides will field an almost entirely new squad at the Pasir Gudang Stadium. In Harimau's case, the side that finished fourth last term will not participate in the S.League and will instead be replaced by the B team, coached by former Kuala Lumpur manager Razip Ismail.
Similarly, the Swans have lost a number of players to rival clubs as well as to their parent outfit in the J.League.
Despite the exodus, the Japanese side are expected to build on their impressive showing in the previous season when they finished third and have re-signed former player Bruno Castanheira, as well a number of players from the J.League.
Only five weeks' worth of fixtures have been announced at this juncture and Tampines follow the Eastern derby with games against Young Lions, Balestier, Warriors and Harimau Muda B.
S-League 2013 Fixtures (First five rounds)
Wednesday, February 20
Courts Young Lions vs Hougang United (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Geylang International vs Tampines Rovers (Bedok Stadium)
Thursday, February 21
Home United vs DPMM FC (Bishan Stadium)
Woodlands Wellington vs Warriors FC (Woodlands Stadium)
Friday, February 22
Tanjong Pagar United vs Balestier Khalsa (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Harimau Muda vs Albirex Niigata (S) (Pasir Gudang Stadium)
Tuesday, February 26
Balestier Khalsa vs Geylang International (Toa Payoh Stadium)
Woodlands Wellington vs Harimau Muda (Woodlands Stadium)
Wednesday, February 27
Warriors FC vs Tanjong Pagar United (Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Thursday, February 28
Tampines Rovers vs Courts Young Lions (Clementi Stadium)
Friday, March 1
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Home United (Jalan Besar Stadium)
DPMM FC vs Hougang United (Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium)
Tuesday, March 5
Home United vs Woodlands Wellington (Bishan Stadium)
Tanjong Pagar United vs Harimau Muda (Queenstown Stadium)
Thursday, March 7
Courts Young Lions vs DPMM FC (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Friday, March 8
Hougang United vs Albirex Niigata (S) (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Sunday, March 10
Harimau Muda vs Geylang International (Pasir Gudang Stadium)
Monday, March 11
Albirex Niigata (S) vs DPMM FC (Jurong East Stadium)
Wednesday, March 13
Balestier Khalsa vs Courts Young Lions (Toa Payoh Stadium)
Thursday, March 14
Tanjong Pagar United vs Home United (Queenstown Stadium)
Friday, March 15
Woodlands Wellington vs Hougang United (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Saturday, March 16
Geylang International vs Warriors FC
Sunday, March 17
Tampines Rovers vs Balestier Khalsa (Clementi Stadium)
Wednesday, March 20
Courts Young Lions vs Albirex Niigata (S) (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Thursday, March 21
Warriors FC vs Tampines Rovers (Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Friday, March 22
Hougang United vs Tanjong Pagar United (Jalan Besar Stadium)
Saturday, March 23
Geylang International vs Home United (Bedok Stadium)
Sunday, March 24
Balestier Khalsa vs Warriors FC (Toa Payoh Stadium)
Tampines Rovers vs Harimau Muda (Clementi Stadium)