Cologne - Off The Ball, bundesliga.com's quirky periodical, offers a selection of the offbeat stories to have emerged in Germany's top flight over the past seven days.

In this edition we look at Manuel Neuer's charity work, an unusual trip to far-flung shores for FC Schalke 04 and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at FC Bayern München's training methods...

On Sunday evening FC Bayern München goalkeeper opened a centre to help disadvantaged children in his home city of Gelsenkirchen. The project, called MANUS, which is Latin for ‘hand’, as well as being a play on Neuer’s nickname ‘Manu’, was partially funded by the goalkeeper’s winnings from his appearance on a celebrity episode of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ last year. “It’s very important to me to give these kids a chance of having a better future,” Neuer said.

The household names from the Schalke first team were not the only players on international duty this past week: the club’s reserves also clocked up several thousand air miles after undertaking a trip to Tajikistan in central Asia. As well as getting to know the country and its people, the Royal Blues also faced local top-flight side Istiqlol in the capital Dushanbe in front of 22,000 spectators. The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes before Schalke won 5-4 on penalties. "Tired legs dancing", reads the tweet below:

For the second week running FC Bayern offered fans a rare glimpse of goings-on out on the training pitches at their Säbener Straße complex, with the session broadcast live on YouTube with English commentary. The likes of Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso and Franck Ribery could all be seen being put through their paces - check out the best bits here. Whether the Bavarians stream future training sessions nearer to a Bundesliga fixture likely depends on how generous coach Pep Guardiola is feeling…

Check out more of the quirkier side of Germany's top flight on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: