Wolfsburg - VfL Wolfsburg can close the gap on Bundesliga pacesetters FC Bayern München to eight points with victory in Friday's Rückrunde opener at the Volkswagen Arena (kick-off 20:30 CET/ 19:30 GMT).

bundesliga.com looks ahead to a clash between the German top flight's most consistent performers so far this term...

As well as giving the league leaders something to think about, Wolfsburg will be just as keen to put a bit more breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack. The Wolves currently sit six points clear of third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with Bayern 11 points better off at the summit.

Bas Dost is the favourite to lead the line after impressing towards the back end of 2014. Injured midfielder Josuha Guilavogui's place is up for grabs, but the game comes too soon for Xizhe Zhang. The club have announced that a minute's applause will be held in memory of Junior Malanda, who died in a car accident on 10 January.

Franck Ribery and Rafinha have both been ruled out after suffering respective thigh and ankle injuries in training this past week. Medhi Benatia and David Alaba are in contention, but Philipp Lahm (ankle), Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara (both knee) remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Kevin De Bruyne was one of the standout players of the Hinrunde. His cultured mix of pace and skill lends itself beautifully to the Wolves' counter-attacking disposition, but it's his conveyor belt of assists that have really set him apart from the rest in 2014/15 (a league-high ten in 17 outings).

Arjen Robben has been nigh-on impossible to live with for opposition defenders so far this season, weighing in with ten goals and three assists in 14 league appearances. The Dutchman kicks off the Rückrunde arguably in the form of his life, which can only be bad news for Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

Dieter Hecking (Wolfsburg head coach): "If we're on top of our game, we can cause Bayern problems."

Xabi Alonso (Bayern midfielder): "We're playing against the second-placed team, it's going to be a tough one."

Wolfsburg suffered just three league defeats during the Hinrunde and have maintained their rich vein of form in 2015 with a hat-trick of mid-season friendly wins. Bayern, who are unbeaten domestically since last April's 3-0 reverse against Borussia Dortmund, also enjoyed a 100-percent winning run during the winter break.

The Wolves famously trounced Bayern 5-1 en route to a dramatic first Bundesliga title win in 2008/09, but have lost ten and drawn just one of their 11 subsequent meetings, with Guardiola's side nicking a 2-1 victory back on the opening day of the current campaign.

Possible line-ups:

Wolfsburg: Benaglio - S. Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Luiz Gustavo, Arnold - Vieirinha, De Bruyne, Perisic - Dost

Bayern: Neuer - Rode, J. Boateng, Dante, Juan Bernat - Xabi Alonso - Robben, T. Müller, Schweinsteiger, M. Götze - Lewandowski

Relive Wolfsburg's last win over the record German champions courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: