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 action, exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes reports, the best goals from the latest league encounters and much more besides. Coming up this week...
A share of the spoils away to their namesakes in Mönchengladbach leaves Borussia Dortmund still in second place, but now even further behind frontrunners FC Bayern - 17 points, to be precise. Next up, on the back of a midweek DFB Cup tie in the Bavarian capital, BVB entertain a Hannover 96 side boosted by a 5-1 demolition of fellow European hopefuls Hamburger SV - a result which lifted the Reds up to seventh in the table in what’s turning out to be a slobberknocker of a battle for the European places. Mirko Slomka’s men will now be hoping to replicate their solid home form on the road in Dortmund.
In Focus I
BVB ever-present Mats Hummels will, of course, provide a thorough examination of Mame Diouf and Co’s away day credentials. A first-team regular pretty much from the get-go after swapping Munich for the Ruhr district in 2008 at the age of 19, Hummels has developed into one of the Bundesliga’s standout stars. Now an integral member of the national team set-up as well, the FC Bayern youth system graduate was one of the key components in Jürgen Klopp's two-time title-winning machine and clearly believes there’s still plenty where that came from, having penned a long-term contract extension only last summer.
In Focus II
One man more than likely to be playing his part in VfB Stuttgart’s top tussle at Bayer 04 Leverkusen is Gotoku Sakai. The Japanese full back, who is just as comfortable ripping it up on either flank, has made 18 starting appearances in the league for Bruno Labbadia's troops this season and in January signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until June 2016. Arriving from Albirex Niigata at the start of 2012, Sakai adapted to the rigours of the Bundesliga with minimum fuss and was rewarded in kind with his full senior international call-up last September.