Cologne - With the international break upon us, Off The Ball - bundesliga.com's nifty periodical - is on hand to bring you up to speed with the latest colourful off-pitch stories from around German football.

Today, we take you into the world of Lederhosen, Xabi Alonso, Lewis Holtby and illuminate the rather special relationship shared by Jürgen Klopp and Shinji Kagawa...

After Saturday's on-field FC Bayern München debut in the 1-1 draw at FC Schalke 04, Xabi Alonso (pictured, l.) then had to make a more nerve-wracking first appearance: in Lederhosen! The leather shorts are an essential part of Bavarian culture, which Alonso intends to enjoy by immersing himself in the language. The Spaniard can currently say 'Ich heiße Xabi' (My name is Xabi), and if he takes to the language as quickly as he did Lederhosen, Bayern may have a cult hero on their hands...

Lewis Holtby's path to Hamburg was fraught with difficulties to say the least. "It was a really turbulent trip," HSV's loanee midfielder told www.hsv.de. "On Sunday I was in the [Tottenham] squad to face Liverpool and kept looking at my mobile beforehand. I went straight home after the game and then came the news. I had to pack fast. I actually missed my flight out of London, but eventually arrived in Hamburg later that evening. Now I'm just happy to be here."

Sometimes a picture paints a thousand words, and that's very much the case with this one of Borussia Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp and returning hero Shinji Kagawa. The Japanese international won back-to-back Bundesliga titles during his first stint at BVB and, after two years at Premier League side Manchester United FC, is clearly delighted to be back in his former abode - much like the man that brought him to Germany in the first place from Cerezo Osaka back in summer 2010.