Bath head coach Mike Ford believes Leicester Tigers are the team to beat as they prepare to host the champions at the Rec.
The teams meet for the first time this season on Saturday and the occasion will mark the 100th Anniversary of their first encounter.
Leicester earned their first league title in three campaigns last season, an achievement that makes Ford feel that they are still the side to beat.
"I think they are [the ultimate test]. They've got ten Premiership wins," Ford told The Bath Chronicle.
"They are the benchmark and aren't going to be too far away from being in the top two again this year. It's what we want to try to aspire to.
"It's difficult. We will be ready for Saturday but we know we are playing the champions and they are a bloody good side."
Bath won the corresponding fixture last season, and started this campaign with an impressive 21-0 mauling of Newcastle Falcons. The coach expects that these performances will make the top teams in the league take Bath more seriously.
"You want to play the big fixtures and I'm sure they are relishing it as well," added Ford.
"There's cycles and I think what people will be doing now is they'll see the people we have recruited, look at our pre-season and look at our Newcastle result and probably prepare for us even more.
"That's another challenge - teams are respecting us more and preparing for us. We have to then go up another level again."
Ford believes that Bath's strength last week, their powerful forward pack, will experience a stern examination of their credentials on Saturday.
"The pack have dominated very well so far but we aren't taking anything for granted, we are up against a great pack on Saturday," said Ford.
"It's an experienced pack and they look a bit bigger this year. That'll be our true test.
"They've got someone like Thomas Waldrom on the bench and you just think 'Oh my God, they must have a decent pack if he can't get in.'
"They are physical and play direct. They've got some smart footballers in there as well."
Bath goes into the crunch encounter with a full bill of health, except for England centre Kyle Eastmond, who suffered a knock to the knee in the club's opener.
"Kyle is good. He just took a knock to his knee, it's nothing twisted or structural," explained Ford.
"He should be good to go Saturday but that's not 100 per cent yet. Friday's squad is pretty much good to go."