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Fifth takes on first when VfL Wolfsburg host FC Bayern München in the big Saturday afternoon game but the two protagonists could hardly be going into it on the back of more contrasting fortunes last time out. chipped in with a hat-trick as Bayern marched on to their now customary tune with a 5-1 demolition of FC Schalke – one of Wolfsburg's direct rivals in the battle for a European berth – in what was flagged up as the stand-out meeting of Matchday 23.
On Sunday, the Wolves travelled to Hoffenheim looking to follow up on last month's 3-2 DFB Cup quarter-final at the same venue. Instead, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-2 beating at the hands of their unpredictable hosts. On the rebound from what midfielder Christian Träsch described as an “unacceptable“ performance, Wolfsburg have the ultimate opportunity to demonstrate that they are nonetheless ready and able to mix it up with the best once again. Bayern, however, can bag another record with victory at the Volkswagen Arena – by becoming the first side ever to win 16 games running in the Bundesliga.
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.... His 16th starting appearance of the season at Hoffenheim may have been one to forget but it was a relatively rare blip in what has been a stellar rise to the top for the 19-year-old midfielder. Now back in his accustomed role on the right, alongside new signing , Arnold had a stint in the central midfield slot himself earlier in the season, such is the high regard in which head coach Dieter Hecking holds him. A two-time national title winner already with the Wolves at U-19 level, he is also both the club's youngest-ever Bundesliga debutant (17-and-a-half at Augsburg in 2011) and scorer (in a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim last April). Six goals in the current campaign testify to just one aspect of the all-round game that has also earned Arnold a place in the national team set-up at every level, so far, from U-16 to U-21.
It has not all been plain sailing for , either before he swapped Manchester City for FC Bayern München in the summer of 2011 or since. These days however, the 25-year-old central defender is by his own admission "living a dream" as a first-team regular both with the world's current number one-ranked club and a Germany side widely tipped to go all the way at this summer's World Cup finals in Brazil. The icing on the cake, as of this season, is that his half-brother is back in the Bundesliga as well. The two had a business meeting at the Allianz Arena last Saturday and come the final whistle Jerome, who in December penned a three-year contract extension tying him to Bayern until 2018, had more than a fraternal reunion to celebrate.