Coming up in this week's show...
Having fallen to their first league defeat of the campaign at their namesakes in Mönchengladbach and in the process been leap-frogged at the top of the standings by FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund are not lacking for an incentive to get back in the winning groove when Hannover 96 come calling on Saturday. On the face of it, their prospects of doing so appear pretty good, given that BVB have won all four of their home games to date and the visitors have lost all three of theirs on the road.
Overall, Mirko Slomka's 96ers are finding it hard to break the pattern established last season of excellent form in their own back yard and contrastingly meagre returns elsewhere. As far as this particular fixture goes, Dortmund are chasing a fifth straight maximum haul against Hannover on home turf. For their part, the men from Lower Saxony, with Didier Ya Konan definitely out and Mame Diouf still struggling, could be stretched for manpower up front in a contest where potency on the break is likely to be their best option for departing with something tangible.
Leading the line for Borussia Dortmund in that game, all things being equal, will be Robert Lewandowski - one of the Bundesliga's most prolific marksmen over the past couple of seasons and, in the eyes of many, the most complete forward currently operating in the German game, perhaps even Europe.
Fevered speculation as to his future over the summer and, indeed, beyond, has had no apparent effect on his productivity, with the coveted 25-year-old Poland international joint-top of the early-season individual scoring chart on six goals. Three assists on top of that testify to Lewandowski's ever-ready eye for a teammate which, in addition to his superlative technique, adds up to an exceptionally high-spec forward package.
Not the least intriguing aspect of Saturday's late game between Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach is the prospect of a creative fraternal tussle in the middle of the park. Ronny will be hoping for a run-out from the start this time for the hosts - on five of the eight matchdays to date he has had to be content with a stint off the bench, managing to hit the net three times nonetheless, including a with a belter in Hanover on Matchday 8.
Raffael, the elder of the brothers by just over a year, has meanwhile been an invariable starter for Gladbach this season, bagging four goals himself and teeing up ten times that number of scoring chances for his teammates. Foals head coach Lucien Favre signed up his favourite Brazilian for the third time over the summer and the new no11 actually last played for him at Hertha. Past associations and family ties will naturally enough be on ice for the duration of what promises to be a fast and furious encounter.