Borussia Dortmund play host to their namesakes from Mönchengladbach in Saturday's late kick-off, seeking the victory that will help ensure they don't find themselves already worryingly off the pace at the top, only six games into the season.
Having seen their incredible 32-game unbeaten run in the league finally brought to an end at Hamburg last weekend, the champions followed up on Tuesday by letting a two-goal lead slip at Eintracht Frankfurt in a contest that eventually ended 3-3. With Bayern Munich continue to pile up the wins at the same time, BVB go into Matchday 6 already seven points shy of their putative main rivals in the title race.
"All kinds of things can happen in football. What should not happen though is for you get caught cold on the break when you're two goals up away from home. And that's exactly what we did," a less than satisfied Dortmund Jürgen Klopp summarised after the game in Frankfurt.
The head coach has been working assiduously with his charges in training to root out the mistakes which have led to a usually watertight defence leaking six goals in their last two outings. Referencing those matches, he pointed out that, "We're creating a lot of chances against defensively-orientated opponents, but just about every counter-attack is ending up with the ball in the back of our net. We're lacking a little something there - not much, but it's still lacking."
Reus reunion in doubt
At the sharp end of the action, Marco Reus will be hoping to be able to help make a difference against his erstwhile colleagues at the Signal Iduna Park. Germany's Player of the Year switched from Gladbach to hometown club Dortmund over the summer, but it remains to be seen whether he will get play a part in the proceedings on Saturday after picking up a knock at Frankfurt.
For their part, visitors Gladbach are likewise struggling to reproduce the blistering form that took them to a surprise fourth-place finish last season. Alongside Reus, they lost two more cornerstones of their team in defensive organiser Dante (to FC Bayern) and midfielder Roman Neustädter (to Schalke 04). The Foals bought big in return, but head coach Lucien Favre's warning that this would nonetheless be a "difficult season" is thus far proving well-founded.
Mönchengladbach go into this one in mid-table, on eight points, but they will have taken heart from battling performances that earned them a point apiece from the last two games at Leverkusen (1-1) and against HSV in midweek (2-2). In the latter encounter, it was only an added-time strike from Alvaro Dominguez that earned them a share of the spoils. If it takes that long to produce a similar outcome at Dortmund, Gladbach will likely not be complaining.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - S. Bender, Kehl - Blaszczykowski, M. Götze, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Brouwers, Alvaro Dominguez, Daems - Nordtveit, G. Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Hanke, L. de Jong