Munich - GOAL! The Bundesliga Magazine is the DFL's weekly TV programme, offering a global audience a unique perspective on Germany's top flight throughout the season. We have in-depth previews of the upcoming league action, exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes reports, the best goals from the weekend and much more besides.
Among the highlights in this week's edition of GOAL! The Bundesliga Magazine:
We hit the ground running this week with a blast from the, admittedly very recent, past - the end of March of this year, to be precise. The 2011/12 Matchday 28 opener, Friday evening at the Signal Iduna Park, with the regulation 80 thousand-strong crowd watching on. With 20 minutes to go, the hosts were 2-0 up and well on course for another three points towards their title defence. What happened next was one for the Bundesliga archives - and not just for last season. Six more goals, the last deep in added time, as Stuttgart staged a dramatic turnaround only to be seemingly upstaged by Dortmund's champion response, before Christian Gentner restored parity with virtually the final kick of the game to round out a remarkable 4-4 draw.
Top Game II
Just as Matchday 8 witnessed Bayern Munich establishing a new Bundesliga record of eight straight wins to start the season, Matchday 9 revealed that best-mark would not stretch any further as Bayer Leverkusen came, saw, conquered and took their leave of the Bavarian capital with a rare victory in the bag. All things come to an end and with that statistical sideshow laid to rest, the record champions resume the regular business of trying to rack up points for what they hope will be their first title success in three years away to Hamburger SV in Saturday's late kick-off. HSV came off second-best against Stuttgart in their previous run-out at the Imtech Arena, but they got swiftly back on track with a win at Augsburg which leaves them in seventh and still on a clear upward trajectory. Hamburg has traditionally been a tricky hunting ground for Bayern and this classic north-south meeting promises to be another pulsating affair.
3 Minutes with...
...Thorsten Fink. Having achieved the nominal goal of his first season in charge, namely ensuring the Red Shorts ended it with their status as the Bundesliga's only ever-present club intact, head coach Fink took his players into 2012/13 with the bar raised altogether higher this time around. All thoughts of possibly challenging again for a place in Europe were at least temporarily put on hold after HSV started out with three straight defeats in the league. In the interim however, with Rafael van der Vaart back on board as playmaker, the team from the Hanseatic port city have worked their way up to the right end of the standings and look to be back on course towards better days. GOAL! chats with Thorsten Fink about the current state of play and the season ahead.
Few players have contributed more to Mainz 05's surge up the standings in recent weeks than Elkin Soto. The 32-year-old midfielder has brought all his experience to bear to shore up the team in a left-sided holding role, consistently demonstrating the qualities that convinced FSV to sign him up from CD Once Caldas at the start of 2007. Having risen to continental prominence helping the Colombian outfit to a surprise Copa Libertadores success in 2004, Soto had spent his final year in the South American game on loan at Ecuador's Barcelona SC Guayaquil before switching to the Bundesliga. Now coming up to the end of his sixth full year in Mainz, he is a more influential figure than ever - a hard-running onfield leader possessing impeccable technique.