The fixture list has thrown up a beauty to get the Rückrunde started, as league leaders FC Bayern München travel north to face a VfL Wolfsburg side just a place below them in the table, but the drama won't be restricted to just Lower Saxony. bundesliga.com runs the rule over Matchday18's six featured games, which you can work out how to watch by heading to our broadcasters page.
Emotions are guaranteed to be running high when Wolfsburg host Bayern a week on Friday. This will be the Wolves' first competitive game since the tragic death of Junior Malanda (pictured) on 10 January at the age of 20. According to his wishes, the club upheld their commitment to visiting South Africa on the Bundesliga World Tour 2015 and will now aim to close the 11-point gap at the top of the table. Expect some poignant tributes and a wonderful spectacle at the Volkswagen Arena.
As ever, Schalke head into the Rückrunde with bags of expectation on their shoulders. After a winter training camp spent in Qatar, the Royal Blues will be looking for a solid return to domestic form against a side that unexpectedly beat die Knappen on the season's opening day. Serbian international defender Matija Nastasic has arrived on loan from Manchester City FC and could be in for a tough debut indeed against the physicality of Joselu and the guile of Hiroshi Kiyotake.
BVB apologists might trace the origin of their miserable Hinrunde back to Matchday 1 when they conceded the fastest-ever goal in Bundesliga history to Karim Bellarabi. BVB then lurched one from crisis to another on the way to ending 2014 in a lowly 17th place, but some tough training, hard work and the arrival of Kevin Kampl should make them at least more competitive this side of the winter break. Bayer, for their part, are intent on a first league double over Borussia since 2006/07.
Despite their status as one of German football's traditional powerhouses, Gladbach have a woeful record against Stuttgart. The Foals have won just five of the teams' last 40 league meetings, losing 21 times, and they needed an injury-time equaliser from Christoph Kramer to rescue a 1-1 draw back in August. VfB have a relegation fight on their hands, while Borussia are targeting another European finish. Different agendas they may be, but there will be no quarter given by either side at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Both sides will look back on the teams' earlier meeting this season with an element of regret. Led by the inspired debutant Julian Schieber, Hertha raced into a 2-0 lead, only to be pegged back to 2-2, even coming close to conceding a third. The result was symptomatic of the Berliners' stop-start campaign so far, but Bremen, under a new coach and with star striker Franco Di Santo back to fitness, will sense an opportunity to leapfrog their opponents in the table and get their year up and running.
The final game of the weekend is one to savour in Bavaria. After their best-ever Hinrunde, Augsburg signalled their intent for the rest of the season by sealing eye-catching deals for South Korean striker Dong-Won Ji and Bayern youngster Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Survival remains the stated goal, but they may just go one better than last season's seventh-placed finish. TSG, meanwhile, are just a point behind Augsburg in the table and eyeing a UEFA Europa League finish of their own.