Munich - The Bundesliga may be the most dramatic and exciting league in the world, but it also has its light-hearted side, and so to bring you a step closer to Germany's more colourful off-pitch stories, here's Off The Ball,'s quirky weekday feature.

In today's edition, we say a very happy birthday to a special a four-legged friend of German football, discover who Pele fancies for the World Cup and reflect on whether the greatest goalkeeper ever is playing in the Bundesliga today.

Manuel Neuer has received some regal praise from his club's sporting director Matthias Sammer, who said he's "probably the best goalkeeper there's ever been". Germany's goalkeeper coach Andreas Köpke believes he can be even better, though. "He can still work on anticipating situations quicker, becoming more explosive and managing to get down quicker, despite his large frame," Köpke told Kicker: magazine. All those "are only minor points" for improvement, however.

The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is a little under 100 days away and Germany are among many peoples’ favourites to be competing for the title. To that list can also be added three-time Brazilian World Cup winner Pele, although the 70-year-old also says they’ll face stiff competition. “Three months before the World Cup, I see two or three teams who are looking very good," the Santos FC icon said. "I'm thinking of Germany, Spain, and of course Brazil." Either way, somebody from FC Bayern München, whether it be , or will likely be lifting a sixth piece of silverware this come the very end of the season.

Today is a special day for a visitor to every single one of 1. FC Köln's home matches, their living mascot Hennes VIII. He turned seven today and you can read about his life story here.

He's certainly looking good for his age, and not even slightly sheepish. "Happy seventh birthday, dear Hennes!", reads this tweet from the club on Monday.