Coming up on the Bundesliga Preview Show...
FC Schalke 04's 2-1 home victory over Borussia Dortmund in the 85th Ruhr district derby of the Bundesliga era restored statistical parity between the two local rivals in this remarkably well-balanced contest. Both sides are now on 30 wins apiece, with the other 25 ending all-square, and the Matchday 6 tussle at the VELTINS-Arena was emblematic of the fixture as a whole - breathtakingly intense, at times scrappy but rarely less than enthralling. All the goals fell inside the first half-hour, after which most of the pressing came from Dortmund. That made for a busy afternoon for Atsuto Uchida, even if the Royal Blues right-back's much anticipated head-to-head with his Japanese compatriot Shinji Kagawa only materialised sporadically in the second half after BVB's returning hero came off the bench in the 57th minute. This was not to be his, or Dortmund's, day.
FC Schalke 04: Fortunes on the up
Two points from their opening four games made for fairly grim reading for FC Schalke 04 but the headlines have taken on an altogether rosier hue over the past few days. Victory came at the fifth attempt in the form of a well-deserved if slightly flattering 3-0 midweek win at Werder Bremen. The follow-up maximum haul achieved at Borussia Dortmund's expense would in itself be enough to keep many a hard-core Royal Blue happy for the next six months. The management, naturally enough, have a somewhat more pragmatic take on day-to-day proceedings and have already assimilated the hard-earned derby triumph into what they anticipate will be an ongoing upward form curve, with a consolidating victory at 1899 Hoffenheim this weekend pencilled-in next.
FC Bayern: Record for Alonso
In the course of FC Bayern's 2-0 win at Köln, Xabi Alonso touched the ball 204 times for the visitors. It sounds like a lot and it is - 27 more than the previous one-game best-mark in the Bundesliga, in fact, set only last season by his Spanish compatriot Thiago Alcantara, whose current injury is one of the reasons Bayern signed Alonso from Real Madrid at the start of the season. For the veteran world and European champion, who has wasted no time at all making himself right at home in the Bayern control room, it was all in a day's work.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Foals on a roll
The 2-1 win at SC Paderborn that took Borussia Mönchengladbach up to second in the table also stretched the Foals' unbeaten run this season into double figures, one DFB Cup game and three in the UEFA Europa League included. Lucien Favre's lightning-fast counter-attacking specialists will be chasing another three points at home to Mainz on Sunday and are increasingly looking like a side capable of hanging around the top for the duration. Comparisons can of course be odious, or at the very least premature, but you do have to delve almost 40 years into the archives to encounter a season start similar to this for Gladbach. Back then, the legendary Udo Lattek was in charge - and Borussia were ultimately destined for the title.