March has already proven to be a fascinating month of Bundesliga football so far. With spring in the air, it is becoming ever-clearer which sides are blossoming into genuine contenders for top honours, European qualification and top-flight survival.
The month began with a frenetic englische Woche, and fans have barely had time to stop and smell the flowers since…
FC Bayern München began the month enjoying an eight-point cushion on second-placed Borussia Dortmund, and seemingly cruising to a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title. 1. FSV Mainz 05 proved spoilers on Matchday 24, though, with Jairo and Jhon Cordoba scoring to drown out Arjen Robben's strike and hand the league leaders their first home defeat since May 2015.
A heavily rotated Dortmund, meanwhile, closed the gap to the champions to just five points with victory over SV Darmstadt 98, before holding Pep Guardiola's side to a goalless draw in Der Klassiker on Matchday 25 to leave the title race wide open with nine games of the 2015/16 campaign remaining.
With FCB and BVB all-but assured of UEFA Champions League football next season, the chasing pack are painting a compelling picture of their own. Hertha BSC are currently the best of the rest, 16 points behind Dortmund. The capital club kicked off March with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, but suffered a 2-0 reverse at Hamburger SV last time out.
The Old Lady haven't played in Europe's top-tier competition since 2000, but with only six points separating them from Bayer 04 Leverkusen in eighth - and - there is no guarantee they will end that drought.
At the other end of the table, Hannover 96 have propped up the standings since Matchday 18. Narrowly above them are TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who under new coach Julian Nagelsmann - the Bundesliga's youngest ever coach at 28 - picked up a key win over FC Augsburg before shipping five goals in a heavy defeat at VfB Stuttgart.
SV Werder Bremen, who were languishing in 16th heading into Matchday 24, bagged consecutive 4-1 wins, against Leverkusen and Hannover. Replacing them in the promotion/relegation play-off spot are Eintracht Frankfurt, whose 1-1 draw with FC Ingolstadt 04 in their most recent encounter cost Armin Veh his job as head coach.
The Bundesliga saw 56 goals fly in in less than a week at the beginning of the month, but the highlight was nonetheless Der Klassiker between Bayern and Dortmund, which ended 0-0. Broadcast live in 208 countries, the top-of-the-table clash saw chances at both ends and tactical jousting between Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel, prompting Germany coach Joachim Löw to describe it as "the best game I've seen this season".
The reverse fixture back on Matchday 8 had seen Bayern cruise to a 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena, but Tuchel's charges have picked up two more points than the leaders since that defeat - and kept the title race wide open with that SIGNAL IDUNA PARK stalemate.
Nobody gained more ground in March than Bremen, and no player was more responsible for that progress than Claudio Pizarro. At 37 years, four months and 30 days of age, the Peruvian striker became the oldest player to score a Bundesliga hat-trick in helping his side to a 4-1 win over Die Werkself.
Pizarro also enjoyed a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win over Hannover in their last encounter, lifting his tally for the season to 11 goals. Throw in his two assists, and the former Bayern striker has been responsible for a goal inside every 94 minutes he has played this term.
Wolfsburg's record in March reads: played two, won two, six goals for, one against. Five of those six goals were scored by World Cup-winners Andre Schürrle and Julian Draxler. The former scored his first ever Bundesliga hat-trick in the 4-0 win at Hannover, while Draxler brought his season tally to six in the Wolves' 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Mainz striker Cordoba has also been enjoying a rich vein of form of late: With Bayern four minutes away from stretching their undefeated home Bundesliga record to 13 games, the Colombian latched onto a Julian Baumgartlinger pass before angling the ball past Manuel Neuer for a shock 2-1 win. Cordoba has now scored three goals in 13 games - none better than his stunner in Munich.