Cologne - It had been 40 days since a ball was last kicked in Germany's top flight, but the Bundesliga returned with a bang on Friday as VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern München kicked off the Rückrunde with a five-goal thriller.

There was plenty more excitement over the weekend too, so stay with bundesliga.com as we bring you all the reaction to the Matchday 18 fixtures. As if that was not enough, today is the last day of the winter transfer window - and we'll keep you up-to-date with any and all last-minute moves!

MATCHDAY 18 RESULTS:

VfL Wolfsburg 4-1 FC Bayern München
1. FSV Mainz 05 5-0 SC Paderborn 07
VfB Stuttgart 0-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
FC Schalke 04 1-0 Hannover 96
SC Freiburg 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Hamburger SV 0-2 1. FC Köln
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
SV Werder Bremen 2-0 Hertha Berlin
FC Augsburg 3-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

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Monday 2 February

We had to wait a while for the transfer to go through, but Andre Schürrle finally completed his move to VfL Wolfsburg on Monday afternoon. The Germany international is unlikely to be named in the Wolves' squad for Tuesday's match with Frankfurt, though, but could make his debut at home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim the following week. Don't forget to join us on Tuesday as we build up to this week's Englische Woche. Blink and you'll miss it! Bis bald.

Another transfer to bring you: Filip Djuricic has cut short his loan deal at 1. FSV Mainz 05 and joined Premier League side Southampton FC on loan until the end of the season. The Serbian attacking midfielder joined the Zerofivers from SL Benfica at the beginning of the current campaign.

Swiss international Admir Mehmedi (r.) has been ruled out for several weeks after damaging ankle ligaments in his side's 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon. The 23-year-old is likely to miss several weeks of action as the Black Forest club look to climb away from the relegation zone.

VfL Wolfsburg have completed the signing of Chelsea FC forward and 2014 World Cup winner Andre Schürrle. The former 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen man has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract at the Volkswagen Arena, having scored three goals in 14 league appearances for the west London club this season.

The January transfer window is now CLOSED

... will any more deals be confirmed tonight, though? I have a feeling they might be...

It was a great weekend for SC Freiburg. After coming from behind to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 on Saturday, Sunday saw a referendum held to discuss their plans of building a new stadium. The 'yes' vote won with Freiburg now able to press on with plans to build a new home. Find out more here.

FC Basel 1893 seems to be the place to go for winter recruits with Hamburger SV also raiding the Swiss Super League leaders to secure the services of Chilean midfielder Marcelo Diaz (r.). The 28-year-old has signed on until 2017. "We all saw Marcelo's qualities at last summer's World Cup," said HSV's director of football Peter Knäbel. "He's a player who likes to have the ball. That's what we expect from him."

VfB Stuttgart have secured the signature of Ivory Coast international Geoffroy Serey Die from Swiss champions FC Basel. The midfielder is currently representing his country at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations but will move to the Swabians after the tournament. "He's got experience at international level," said Stuttgart sporting director Robin Dutt. "And his uncompromising style of play will give us greater stability." Click here for more.

One of Germany's widest-read publications, Bild, focused on the exploits many of the clubs' winter recruits had on Matchday 18. Plenty of praise was heaped on Nils Petersen, who hit a debut hat-trick for Freiburg against Frankfurt, while Dortmund's Kevin Kampl, Augsburg's Höjbjerg and Schalke defender Matija Nastasic also earned plaudits. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, meanwhile, lead with BVB coach Jürgen Klopp saying: "Our current league position doesn't matter."

Munich based Süddeutsche Zeitung's headline this morning reads "Every rule was broken", referring to Wolfsburg's dismantling of Bayern on Friday. "Who'd have thought it possible? A team managed to beat the invincible Bayern." The paper also reserved special praise for Augsburg's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg ("Hojbjerg shines") and Bremen forward Franco Di Santo ("Di Santo magic"), both of whom were inspirational in their respective teams' victories.

We want to hear from you! Who do you think was the Player of Matchday 18? Check out the highlights and then vote on our homepage. We also want to know who scored the best goal of the Rückrunde's opening round of matches? View the candidates here then cast your ballot on our Fanzone page.

In case you missed any of the weekend's action, click on the scores of the individual matches at the top of this page to watch video highlights. You can also find out what the players and coaches made of their performances with exclusive interviews on our watch page. If you still haven't had your fill, head to the Bundesliga YouTube channel for more!

Sunday 1 February

That's all for today folks, but we'll be back nice and early on Monday as we gear up for transfer deadline day. We'll be keeping you abreast of all the latest comings and goings in the Bundesliga ahead of the 18:00 CET deadline, so make sure you join is for that. Bye for now!

Players from FC Augsburg and 1899 Hoffenheim have also been voicing their opinions following die Fuggerstädter's 3-1 victory over the Sinsheim club at the SGL Arena. FC Bayern München loanee Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg (l.) capped an impressive debut with an assist for Halil Altintop's (c.) opening goal, before further strikes from Tobias Werner (r.) and Raul Bobadilla rendered Roberto Firmino's goal meaningless.

Werder Bremen climbed to twelfth in the table after a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin in Matchday 18's penultimate game. Franco Di Santo (pictured) scored either side of half-time to seal an important three points for the Green-Whites, who had 19 attempts at goal to Hertha's three. Click here to find out what some of the players made of Sunday's clash at the Weserstadion.

Augsburg's players have started their warm-up ahead of their match with Hoffenheim this afternoon...

UNSERE JUNGS SIND DA! #WarmUp #FCA #FCATSG

A video posted by FC Augsburg (@fcaugsburg1907) on Feb 1, 2015 at 7:52am PST


To stay bang up-to-date with all the action there are three options. Either follow the minute-by-minute coverage on our LIVE Twitter account, @BL_Live_EN, or alternatively on bundesliga.com's LIVE ticker! The choice is up to you, but make sure to tweet in your opinions to @Bundesliga_EN as well!

Watching the Bundesliga from abroad? Not sure which channel is covering the most-exciting league in the world in your country? Well have no fear, bundesliga.com has got you covered! Discover your local television broadcaster by clicking here.

Just when things appear to be heading in the right direction for Bayer 04 Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse, they have once again taken a turn for the worse. Stretchered off in the AFC Asian Cup Final on Saturday, it is thought that the Australian international could now miss up to four months with suspected torn ankle ligaments.

There were many debutants on Matchday 18, including Borussia Dortmund's Kevin Kampl (l.). His first game for his new club was at a place he called home when he was just 13 - Leverkusen. Find out what the 24-year-old recruit from RB Salzburg made of his first ever competitive Bundesliga appearance in this post-match interview.

Nils Petersen's hat-trick was one of the main subjects of discussion in Sunday's newspapers, but it was Borussia Dortmund's drop to the foot of the table which took more column inches. "Probability of relegation rises to 69 per cent" claims the Bild newspaper, citing historical statistics of sides in a similar position to them after Matchday 18. Hamburg's plight was also in the focus with their crushing home defeat to Köln creating concern.

It was a debut beyond the wildest dreams of Nils Petersen (l.), on loan at SC Freiburg from SV Werder Bremen for the second half of the season. His 25-minute hat-trick helped lift the Black Forest outfit off the foot of the table, but Petersen was remaining humble. "Even a beer crate could have scored my chances," he said, paying tribute to his team-mates' assists and saying it's "going to be hard to top this." Freiburg will hope he can.

Saturday 31 January

That brings an end to Saturday's coverage, but we'll be back tomorrow with all the match reaction and pre-game build-up you can shake a stick at. SV Werder Bremen kick things off at home to Hertha Berlin at 15:30 CET, with TSG Hoffenheim set to round off a big weekend in the Bundesliga away to surprise top-seven package FC Augsburg two hours later. 19 goals and counting - you don't want to miss a second of the remaining action. Ciao for now!

Don't let this photo of Christoph Kramer fool you. Borussia Mönchengladbach came away from VfB Stuttgart's Mercedes-Benz Arena with all three points, albeit , you could argue, by the skin of their teeth. Find out what the Foals' World Cup-winning midfielder made of the contest here.

Schalke debutant Matija Nastasic was satisfied with the ten-man Royal Blues' slender win over Hannover. Marco Höger's first-half strike turned out to be the only goal of the game as Roberto Di Matteo's side produced a battling performance in the second half to keep the Reds at bay. Get the post-match reaction right here.

Borussia Dortmund take a point off Bayer 04 Leverkusen, but it's not enough to lift Jürgen Klopp's side off the bottom of the table. Bundesliga debutant Kevin Kampl believes it's a step in the right direction, though, and Nuri Sahin wasn't complaining too much either. Click for here more post-match reaction from the BayArena.

Well, after that, take a deep breath. If we thought today's action couldn't match the excitement of last night, then we were quite wrong! Schalke prevailed (just) over Hannover 96 in the Veltins Arena, and you can read the match report here. Elsewhere, Gladbach emerged 2-0 victors against their bogey team, VfB Stuttgart, and we've got that one for you to read about over here. If you missed any of the other action, we've got a round-up here.

This afternoon's matches are about to begin, so we'll be back later with more news, pictures, interviews and reaction. In the meantime, there are several ways you can stay on top of the live action: find your local television broadcaster here, get a blow-by-blow account of the games by following us on Twitter, and you can listen to the late game between Leverkusen and Dortmund on the Bundesliga radio here.

Congratulations are in order for Dortmund keeper Mitch Langerak, Ingolstadt forward Mathew Leckie and Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse (l.), who won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time with Australia thanks to a 2-1 extra-time victory over South Korea in the final. However, the win was marred by a nasty looking injury to Kruse, who had to be substituted off. Get well soon, Robbie! Click for more.

Goals guaranteed

If you're unsure which of the tasty Bundesliga ties to watch today, you could do worse than opting for Schalke versus Hannover. The last ten league fixtures between the two have produced an average of 3.8 goals per game - and one of the most spectacular matches came in the 2012/13 season. Check it out below, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.

Emotions were running high at the Volkswagen Arena last night as things got underway with the Wolfsburg faithful paying a fitting tribute to Junior Malanda, who tragically lost his life in a car accident during the winter break, with a well-coordinated choreography that read 'forever in our hearts' and went along with a minute's applause and a moment of silent reflection before kick-off. Pictures of that moving moment as well as the best snaps of the game can be found here...

However, for a moment lets revel in yesterday's incredible encounter at the Volkswagen Arena, which saw Wolfsburg put as many goals past FC Bayern as the league leaders had conceded in the whole first half of the season. To a man the Wolves were at the top of their game with Bas Dost, who struck a first-half brace, claiming afterwards that "it doesn't get any better than this". To hear what the main protagonists had to say post-match follow this link...

Friday 30 January

What a way to get things started in the second half of the season! League leaders FC Bayern München's cushion at the summit was cut to just eight points following a emotionally-charged encounter at the Volkswagen Arena which saw VfL Wolfsburg triumph courtesy of a performance that stood as a most fitting tribute to Junior Malanda, who died in a car crash on 10 January. Click here to read bundesliga.com's match report...

Will Pep Guardiola be pointing the finger of blame tonight or raising his hands after another Bayern triumph? Don't forget about the multitude of ways to follow the champions' trip to second-placed Wolfsburg tonight with bundesliga.com. There's Bundesliga radio, our liveticker, there'll be a report, reaction and the best pictures. Alternatively, here's the list of broadcasters for your region. Whatever you do, however you follow it, this isn't one you want to miss!

...it's right over here, Hennes - but it's for everyone to enjoy!

It would be quite a turn up for the books if this happened tonight, but you never know...

Karim Bellarabi has tweeted not only his excitement at the return of the Bundesliga (you're not the only one, Karim), but he's also shared a German video about his burgeoning relationship with fellow attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. You can view the video in English here, while the tweet below reads: "Here's a little report from my friend Hakan Calhanoglu and me! Excited for tomorrow, dream team!"

Hannover 96's latest recruit Joao Pereira is like a boy with a new toy after moving to the Bundesliga. The Portuguese star posted a picture of his Hannover shirt on Instagram, accompanied by the words "New shirt, new number!" Here's to hoping he is equally upbeat after his debut on Saturday...

Nova camisola novo número ✌️!!! @hannover96 #joãopereira17 #Hannover #Alemanha

Ein von João Pereira (@joaopereira47) gepostetes Foto am 30. Jan 2015 um 6:58 Uhr


Gladbach travel to the Mercedes-Benz-Arena on Saturday looking to improve on their woeful top-flight record against Stuttgart. The Foals have won just five of their 40 games against the Baden-Württemberg side, who could climb into 12th place with three points this weekend. Click here for the preview…

Croatia striker Ivica Olic has returned to former club Hamburger SV on an 18-month-deal. The 35-year-old joins from Wolfsburg, for whom he has netted five league goals this season. "I have prepared well during the winter break and I'm ready to play against Köln on Saturday," said the former FC Bayern man.

Head over here for our Matchday 18 infographic packed with facts and figures pertaining to the weekend's action. Will Thomas Schaaf continue his fine record against SC Freiburg? Will Borussia Mönchengladbach beat VfB Stuttgart for only the sixth time in Bundesliga history? Will FC Bayern make it eight straight league wins over VfL Wolfsburg? All will be revealed over the next day or two...

Köln striker Anthony Ujah has developed into one of the Billy Goats' standout players in recent times. The striker has bagged six goals so far this campaign, more than any of his team-mates. The 24-year-old marksman spoke to bundesliga.com during Cologne's training camp in Florida - click on the link above to watch the video.

SC Paderborn have bolstered their first-team squad with the signing of 1. FC Kaiserslautern striker Srdjan Lakic. The former Croatia Under-21 international only joined the Red Devils at the beginning of the campaign, having previously played for Hertha, Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim and Frankfurt.

There have been an abundance of outstanding goals on the opening Rückrunde weekend in recent years. Here are ten of the best, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel:

Click here for our preview of Saturday's clash at the Veltins Arena between Schalke and Hannover, who are both in the hunt for a place in Europe next year. New signing Matija Nastasic (pictured) is expected to start for the Royal Blues.

The only Bundesliga player to have scored more league goals than Robben this season is Eintracht Frankfurt's Alexander Meier, who has been speaking to bundesliga.com ahead of the Eagles' trip to bottom-of-the-table SC Freiburg on Saturday. Find out what Meier had to say by licking on the link above.

With ten goals in 13 appearances for Bayern this season, Dutch international Arjen Robben is arguably in the form of his life. The flying winger will be hoping to add to that tally tonight against Wolfsburg, against whom he scored at the Allianz Arena on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign. Find out what the 31-year-old had to say ahead of tonight's clash with the Wolves by clicking here.

Bayer Leverkusen host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening in one of the most eye-catching games of the opening Rückrunde weekend. bundesliga.com has been speaking to die Werkself's free-kick specialist Hakan Calhanoglu, who says he 'can't wait' for Saturday's clash with Jürgen Klopp's side...

Could Bas Dost be in line for a start against the record champions tonight? Hecking could do worse than turn to the 6'5'' tall frontman, who certainly has the ability to cause the Bayern rearguard a problem or two. The Dutchman bagged his first Bundesliga goal of the season against Hannover 96 on Matchday 14, earning a place in the starting XI for the final three Hinrunde matches.

A minute's applause will precede tonight's match in tribute to the late Junior Malanda, who died in a car accident on 10 January. "It will be something different to the usual minute's silence," explained Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs. "We discussed the issue with our fans and came to the mutual conclusion that we didn't want silence."

Preparations have hardly been ideal for the record titleholders this week. On Thursday, it was announced that Franck Ribery and Rafinha will both miss the trip to the Volkswagen Arena with respective thigh and ankle injuries. The duo are also likely to be sidelined for Bayern's matches against FC Schalke 04 and VfB Stuttgart.