Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top-flight.

Today we find out which 1. FC Nürnberg player has reason to celebrate, get the lowdown on Hannover 96's fast food venture and find out which former English policeman will be in charge of FC Schalke 04's next match against Real Madrid CF. would like to wish a Happy Birthday to 1. FC Nürnberg's The Argentine defender turned 31 today and has played in 11 matches this season, his best being Nürnberg's 4-0 win over 1899 Hoffenheim back in January. In total, Pinola has made 194 Bundesliga appearances for der Club, scoring five goals and registering 11 assists.

Following Pep Guardiola's analogy of the Bundesliga being the "pizza and hamburgers" of the football menu and Hannover sporting director Dirk Dufner's witty "gourmet meal" response, the 96ers have joined forces with McDonald's to open a new McCafé at the HDI-Arena. If only had found the net in the Bavarians' 4-0 victory over Hannover 96...

Schalke 04 step up to the plate in the first leg of their last-16 UEFA Champions League tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday, with one of England's most renowned referees, Howard Webb, set to officiate. The Yorkshireman, who also used to be a sergeant for South Yorkshire police, has overseen many important matches down the years, including the 2010 Champions League final between Inter Milan and FC Bayern München as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.

Sebastian Mühlhaus