Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund have the chance to temporarily reduce the arrears on FC Bayern Munich to nine points when they host 1.FC Nuremberg, who haven't won in Westphalia since November 1990.
Not so many home comforts
After demolishing Werder Bremen 5-0 last weekend, the expectation levels are even greater in Dortmund ahead of their clash with Der Club on Friday night.
Closing the gap on Bayern is one thing, but a chance to climb into second place for at least a night will be a great source of motivation for BVB. "We've only won 14 points at home and you'd have thought we'd only played five games, but we haven't," said head coach Jürgen Klopp. "You've got to say we've picked up too few points at home."
Indeed, Dortmund have picked up five less points than at the midway stage of their two title-winning seasons, but Klopp doesn't expect the fans to be disappointed this time. "They should wrap up warm, and we'll take care of the rest," he added.
Dortmund's fans will have to battle the freezing temperatures, but will undoubtedly be wearing their black and yellow scarves. As part of the club's traditional Schal-la-la day, Dortmund fans are asked to adorn a schwarz und gelb scarf for the first home game of every new year, painting the entire Signal Iduna Park in the club's colours and contributing to what will be, and always is, a goosebump-rearing atmosphere in Germany's largest football stadium.
On the field, Nuri Sahin is unlikely to be seen from the beginning, despite his five-minute cameo at Bremen last weekend. Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gündogan are both set to keep their places in Dortmund's engine room, leaving Sahin to kick his heels on the touchline with Sven Bender. "We can be glad that we have so many high-quality players for this position," said Bender, who has accepted the challenge of fighting for his place.
Nuremberg will not be intimidated, though. They intend to use the surprise-factor to stun the stadium into silence. "They should think 'Wow, they're a team who fancy their chances'," said their joint-coach Michael Wiesinger. "We've got to have the courage to attack them. We can't just stand back; we have to set the tone."
That will be a job for Hiroshi Kiyotake, who was left out against Hamburger SV, but is set to return refreshed. "He has shown a reaction," said Wiesinger. "Kiyotake is an important member of our team, he is the player who is responsible for our creativity." Markus Feulner, fresh from penning a new contract extension, is also available for Der Club, who can also count on regular goalkeeper Rafael Schäfer, who is expected to feature despite breaking his nose last weekend.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Kehl - Reus, Götze, Großkreutz - Lewandowski
Nuremberg: Schäfer - Chandler, Nilsson, Klose, Pinola - Balitsch, Simons - Feulner, Kiyotake, Gebhart - Pekhart