FC Augsburg - Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Second-season syndrome appears to have set in for FC Augsburg, who sit bottom of the Bundesliga standings after four matches. Their solitary point to date came against a toothless VfL Wolfsburg side on Matchday 3, with their most recent outing away at 1. FSV Mainz 05 ending in a comprehensive 2-0 defeat. The 05ers were also looking for their first win of the campaign on Saturday, but the ease with which the Bavarian club surrendered all three points doesn't bode well for the weeks ahead.
A serious question mark surrounds Leverkusen's ability to put games to bed when in control. Die Werkself dominated their Rhine derby clash against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday and, owing in part to the efforts of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but largely due to blatant profligacy in front of goal, amazingly had to settle for a point that leaves Sami Hyypia's side just four points better off than their Matchday 5 hosts.
Hannover 96 - 1. FC Nuremberg
Hannover 96 tasted defeat for the first time away at 18th-placed 1899 Hoffenheim on Sunday evening, with Mirko Slomka's side perhaps suffering after their Europa League draw against FC Twente Enschede three days earlier. Up until then, the Reds had been playing some magnificent flowing football, putting away goals at their leisure, with Szabolcs Huszti an early candidate for player of the season. Last time out they certainly missed the magical Magyar, who is set to return from suspension for the visit of 1. FC Nuremberg.
Dieter Hecking's Nuremberg made a similarly positive start to 2012/13, most notably holding champions Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw on Matchday 2. Indeed, the Bavarian club are one of four top-six outfits, including Hannover 96, currently locked on seven points. The Franconians will have to respond to a Matchday 4 loss against high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt, though, if they're to go through the campaign as geniuine contenders for a European berth. As long as heir to Shinji Kagawa's throne Hiroshi Kiyotake stays fit, there's no reason why Hecking's side can't stick around in the top half a while longer.
SC Freiburg - SV Werder Bremen
Having conceded no fewer than 20 goals against Bremen over the past three seasons, losing five of their six encounters in that time, Freiburg will know better than to throw caution to the wind in Wednesday's clash. Coach Christian Streich seemed to buck the negative trend after arriving during last season's winter break, claiming a 2-2 draw against the Green-Whites back in February, and three points are certainly not beyond a Freiburg side which has begun the season in an orderly fashion this time round.
Bogey team Bremen
Indeed, the Black Forest side currently lie a point above their visitors in the table after both sides drew at the weekend. Bremen, without an away win in seven, were left kicking themselves after throwing away a two-goal lead against Stuttgart, but coach Thomas Schaaf will no doubt be looking forward to facing an opponent he has not lost to in over eleven years. The Bundesliga's longest-serving boss will be without the services of defender Assani Lukimya, who was sent off late on in the match against Stuttgart.