Coming up on this week's Bundesliga Preview Show…
Two more points left lying at regional neighbours SC Paderborn was the least of Borussia Dortmund's problems at the weekend. Marco Reus, having put the visitors 2-0 up at the end of the first half, was stretchered off midway through the second 45 after suffering ligament damage to his right ankle following a tackle by former BVB midfielder Marvin Bakalorz. Reus will not be back in action until after the winter break, rounding out a luckless 2014 for the forward star. First, he missed out on a potential starring role at the World Cup finals after sustaining an injury to his left ankle on the eve of Germany's departure for Brazil – and now this, when he was only just back from a second period on the sidelines with similar trouble.
Player of the Week
Arjen Robben was in superb form for Bayern München once again, while elsewhere Schalke 04's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had the Wolves reeling with his first-quarter brace and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang served up some sublime moments for Dortmund, even if they did not eventually prove enough to get the better of Paderborn. Your vote for the standout player of Matchday 12.
A cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee this time last year marked the start of a long and wearisome road back to match fitness for Neven Subotic. His return to the heart of a shaky Dortmund defence is good news for player and club in like measure and for all the commitment that involves, the soon-to-be-26-year-old Serbia international will without a doubt still find the necessary time and energy to dedicate to the foundation he established in his own name last year. Among the projects already up and running is '100 percent water,' helping fund the construction of wells to give more people access to fresh water in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.
Top game of Matchday 13 is the meeting of second and third in the table, with VfL Wolfsburg enjoying home advantage against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. The two sides widely regarded at the moment as having the best prospects of giving Bayern a run for their money both go into this one on the rebound from defeats that leave them respectively seven and ten points shy of the record champions – and definitively no less motivated to get one over on a direct rival by way of a response. We run a comparative eye over the Wolves and the Foals from back to front, to try and establish who has the statistical edge, at least, heading into this cracking encounter.
Derby fever hits the Rhineland this weekend as 1. FC Köln take the almost negligibly short trip upriver to play Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The Werkself produced their most convincing performance in weeks to turn over on-form Hannover 96 on their own patch last Saturday, with frontline stalwart Stefan Kießling ending a personal scoring drought for good measure with his first goal since Matchday 1. While Roger Schmidt's men were moving back into the top four, Köln were slipping to eleventh on the back of a 2-1 home loss to Hertha Berlin. The fact that a victory at the BayArena would nonetheless take the Billy Goats up to within two points of the hosts is further testimony to just how densely-packed it is in the middle of the table. Whatever their relative standings, though, this pair have been involved in some truly memorable local affairs down the years.