Coming up on the Bundesliga Preview Show...
It's the definitive meeting of David and Goliath, with the big guy on home turf for good measure: on Matchday 5, SC Paderborn face the sternest possible test of their still-fresh Bundesliga credentials when they travel to take on FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena. In terms of reputation, resources and trophies in the cabinet, the contrast could scarcely be more extreme. But having earned promotion against the odds in the first place, Paderborn are thus far looking more than comfortable in the role of top-flight underdogs as well. And the exceedingly well-organised provincial North Rhine-Westphalian outfit will take to the pitch against Pep Guardiola's all-star select knowing they have nothing to lose – and everything to gain.
As well as establishing himself as FC Schalke 04's undisputed number one between the posts, Ralf Fährmann has found enough time to continue pursuing his passion for another sport, as we discover on a visit to the club's basketball division. Fährmann discusses that, the specific requirements of a modern top-level custodian and the Royal Blues' current injury problems before turning to the next task in hand, away to Werder Bremen. Schalke are naturally enough gunning for three points there, but the keeper still anticipates being kept well on his toes by the home attack.
Borussia Dortmund against VfB Stuttgart is one of those games that is almost invariably good for a few fireworks. The sides' meeting at the Signal Iduna Park at the end of March 2012, however, delivered a veritable pyrotechnic overload. With 20 minutes to go, the hosts were 2-0 up and seemingly cruising to another workaday three points. But Stuttgart had other ideas, and that was when it all kicked off... Reflections on an eight-goal Bundesliga classic, from some of those who experienced it at first-hand on a Dortmund Friday evening that will linger long in the memory.
Free-scoring as they were last season, TSG Hoffenheim also conceded rather too many goals at the other end for head coach Markus Gisdol's liking. He promptly snapped up Ermin Bicakcic from freshly-relegated Eintracht Braunschweig to help remedy the malaise and the 24-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina international has settled straight in as the team's new defensive coordinator. Hoffenheim started into the campaign with a win and two draws, and just two goals against, before Bicakcic picked up a thigh injury that ruled him out of the Matchday 4 trip to his former club VfB Stuttgart. Gisdol is willing his tough-tackling defender back into action sooner rather than later.