Coming up this week on GOAL!...
Top Game I
It may already belong to the realm of history for the youngest generation of Bundesliga fans, but it is only a few short years since games between Werder Bremen and FC Bayern München were an almost invariable season high point. What was an effective battle of equals for much of the first decade of the millennium is indisputably less so these days, however. Bayern's renewed ascent to the very pinnacle of the world game has gone hand-in-hand with an extended period of restructuring at their erstwhile number one rivals, a process ongoing this season under new head coach Robin Dutt. The German and European champions will thus take to the pitch at the Weserstadion top of the table and unbeaten in over a year in the Bundesliga, against 13th-placed hosts who have lost six times already in the current campaign alone. A share of the spoils earned at the last in an eight-goal thriller at Hoffenheim last time out was, on the one hand, further evidence of Werder's fighting spirit – on the other, it took their goals-against record to 15 in five games, a rather worrying statistic with FC Bayern due in town.
Top Game II
In terms of the standings, there can be little argument about the big one on Matchday 15, as third-place Borussia Dortmund play host to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, three points and one place in front of them. Dortmund's last home assignment, of course, was an even more massive affair, against FC Bayern. That one did not go at all to plan and it was then that Leverkusen took the opportunity to forge ahead of them with a narrow win in Berlin. Both sides go into the encounter on the back of a league success, BVB taking the points at Mainz on the rebound and Bayer comfortably dispatching Nürnberg at home. For Jürgen Klopp's Schwarz-Gelben in particular, the pressure is on again and while their makeshift back four will doubtless gel to better effect with every passing game, they will need to be very careful indeed against a guest forward line that now has Heung Min Son firing on all cylinders as well.
Dortmund, it need hardly be said, have firepower aplenty in reserve themselves, not least in the form of Marco Reus. The hometown hero, who eventually returned to his childhood favourites from Mönchengladbach for big bucks in the summer of 2012, has been in great form again over the first half of the current campaign, chipping in with seven goals and five direct assists in the opening 14 games. Clearly in his element out in the thick of the real-life action, the 24-year-old Germany international gives GOAL an inside into the technical side of his game from within BVB's latest piece of state-of-the art training apparatus, the Footbonaut!