GOAL! this week focuses on one of the country's great regional tussles as Bayern strike out for northern Bavaria to face 1. FC Nuremberg. That is just for starters of course, with reviews of the rest of the top action upcoming, three star players in profile, a trip down memory lane and a handful of great goals thrown in as well.
Top Game I
The hosts are struggling on the fringes of the relegation zone while the visitors are setting a pace currently too hot for the rest to handle, but when 1. FC Nuremberg take on Bayern Munich, the importance of their relative standings in the table is suspended, or at least diminished, for the duration of these emotion-packed duels. The games reflect a traditional rivalry between the biggest cities of Franconia and Bavaria, although out on the pitch Nuremberg, in the dim and distant past the leading force in the German game, have more often than not ended up playing second fiddle to the club who have long since usurped them in that regard.
Top Game II
Schalke 04 go into Matchday 12 as FC Bayern's closest pursuers, albeit seven points behind the men from the Bavarian capital. The Royal Blues displayed character aplenty to turn around a deficit and beat a strong Bremen side at the weekend – just as they had done in clawing back a point from two goals down against Arsenal in the Champions League a few days earlier. After those two encounters at the Veltins Arena, Huub Stevens' men are on the road again this time out, at Bayer Leverkusen.
3 Minutes with...
...Stefan Kießling. His seventh goal of the current campaign, putting a last-second gloss on what looked destined to end as a 3-0 whitewash at Wolfsburg, will have been scant consolation to the Bayer Leverkusen goalgetter. Kießling, who joined Bayer from 1. FC Nuremberg in 2006, knows what is like to be runner-up both in the DFB Cup (in 2008/09) and the league (2010/11), as well as on the Bundesliga top scorer chart in the season in between. The six-time Germany international, who turns 29 in January, would now dearly love to go one better, and finally help Leverkusen secure a long overdue piece of silverware.
A much-travelled man, Neven Subotic got his first taste of German football as a seven-year-old in the Black Forest town of Schömberg, where he moved with his family to escape the upheavals of a disintegrating Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. His route into the professional game took him to Mainz 05 via a stint of college-level football in the USA and when FSV coach Jürgen Klopp moved on to Borussia Dortmund in 2008, he took his young centre back with him. Subotic wasted no time establishing his place at the heart of the defence alongside an equally youthful Mats Hummels and the pair soon had a pivotal role to play in Klopp's restructuring programme. What followed, and continues to follow, was and is the stuff of dreams.
Continuing our series of reviews of the first-ever Bundesliga campaign half a century ago, we take a look at the top flight's 1963-64 curiosity cabinet. The historic goal scored so quickly that no image of it has surfaced to this day, a generous reward offer from the scorer notwithstanding; the first player to be sent off, the first coach to be sacked, a contract signed and sealed on a restaurant menu and more besides. Different times, indeed, for the professional version of the world game.
All this and more in GOAL! The Bundesliga Magazine.