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Dortmund's next attempt to turn their plummeting league fortunes around comes at home to their fellow Borussians from Mönchengladbach, on the face of it an assignment almost as thankless as their Matchday 10 trip to Munich. Last time out, the Foals extended their own unbeaten record this season at the expense of 1899 Hoffenheim's to stay hot on Bayern's heels at the top. To succeed on Sunday, the hosts have to pull off the double-whammy of breaking down a defence that has only conceded five goals in ten games, while themselves holding firm against probably the best counter-attacking team in the division at the moment. Dortmund have given the opposition very few clear-cut scoring opportunities this season, but a depressingly high quota of them have found their way into the back of the net. And Gladbach are ideally equipped to exploit any further lapses of that nature.
This will be the 85th top-flight meeting of the two Borussias and they go into it with an eerily well-balanced record down the years: 28 wins apiece and 28 draws, 137 goals for Dortmund and 141 for Gladbach. Needless to say, there has been many a memorable tussle along the way, although there was nothing well-balanced about one of the most famous or, from a BVB fan's point of view, infamous encounters of the lot, when the Foals inflicted a record 12-0 battering on their hapless yellow-and-black visitors on the final day of the 1977/78 season – and still missed out on the title on goal difference. A look back at a Bundesliga duel with some serious history.
Games against Mönchengladbach are always a bit special for Marco Reus. A Dortmund native who as a youngster cheered on his hometown club on from the famous South Terrace, Reus rose to fame in Germany and beyond with the other Borussia before heading back to his roots in 2012, in a big-money move. It was an expensive re-signing for BVB, who had let the young prospect go to Rot Weiss Ahlen in his mid-teens, only to watch him blossom with the Foals after serving out the lower-league apprenticeship which further reinforced his naturally down-to-earth character. Dortmund remains his one true love, but Reus will always have a soft spot for the club where he first got the opportunity to showcase his incredible talent on the main stage.
Fresh legs and an impassioned performance saw SC Paderborn 07 pick up an impressive 3-1 win at home to a Hertha Berlin side still reeling from their DFB Cup exit in midweek. Paderborn made the most of their early pressure with Marvin Bakalorz breaking the deadlock, but the capital city side struck back against the run of play through Salomon Kalou before half-time. However, second-half strikes from Elias Kachunga and Alban Meha ensured Andre Breitenreiter’s men picked up a thoroughly-deserved three points.
Finally back in action for FC Schalke 04 after a lengthy injury lay-off, Atsuto Uchida vowed to make good on having “been a burden” to the club for so long. The 26-year-old Japan international right-back has wasted little time following those words with deeds, both by way of the typically committed performances that have long since established him as a firm fans' favourite in Gelsenkirchen, and by penning an extension to his existing contract, dedicating himself to the Royal Blue cause for a further three years.
With three goals and four assists in his nine league appearances to date, Thomas Müller has, as ever, been ghosting around the pitch to good effect for FC Bayern this season. Not long turned 25, the youth team graduate pretty much rounded out his title collection with a World Cup winner's medal this summer. He has plenty of juice in the tank, and space in the trophy cabinet, for more of the same however and is evidently quite happy to continue about the task in Munich: just prior to the start of the finals in Brazil, Müller penned a two-year contract extension, committing himself to Bayern until 2019.