Cologne - It had been 40 days since a ball was last kicked in Germany's top flight, but the Bundesliga returned with a bang on Friday as VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern München kicked off the Rückrunde with a five-goal thriller.
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There was plenty more excitement over the weekend too, so stay with bundesliga.com as we bring you all the reaction to the Matchday 18 fixtures. As if that was not enough, today is the last day of the winter transfer window - and we'll keep you up-to-date with any and all last-minute moves!
MATCHDAY 18 RESULTS:
VfL Wolfsburg 4-1 FC Bayern München
1. FSV Mainz 05 5-0 SC Paderborn 07
VfB Stuttgart 0-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
FC Schalke 04 1-0 Hannover 96
SC Freiburg 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Hamburger SV 0-2 1. FC Köln
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
SV Werder Bremen 2-0 Hertha Berlin
FC Augsburg 3-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Monday 2 February
We had to wait a while for the transfer to go through, but Andre Schürrle finally completed his move to VfL Wolfsburg on Monday afternoon. The Germany international is unlikely to be named in the Wolves' squad for Tuesday's match with Frankfurt, though, but could make his debut at home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim the following week. Don't forget to join us on Tuesday as we build up to this week's Englische Woche. Blink and you'll miss it! Bis bald.
The games are coming thick and fast at the beginning of the Rückrunde...
The January transfer window is now CLOSED
... will any more deals be confirmed tonight, though? I have a feeling they might be...
He is a nap hand at following opposition forwards, and now you can follow him on Twitter - Werder Bremen's new recruit Jannik Vestergaard has confirmed his arrival on the social network:
FC Schalke 04 face having to do without Klaas-Jan Huntelaar until mid-March...
No time to waste
There's a new Billy Goat getting to know his new herd immediately...
CONFIRMED SIGNING: Deyverson to Köln
The Billy Goats have bolstered their strikeforce for the remainder of the season by recruiting Brazilian forward Deyverson Brum Silva Acosta, or
for short, on loan from Portuguese top-flight outfit CF Belenenses. According to sporting director Jörg Jakobs, the 23-year-old, who will wear the number 20 shirt, "has made a name for himself as a dangerous goalscorer" in Portugal.
All hands on deck
SC Paderborn have tweeted a picture of their training pitch, although it did not look like this just a few hours ago. The Bundesliga club sent an appeal to fans to help clear snow from the surface, offering free tea and coffee. With the aid of the club's followers, Monday's training session will be able to go ahead as planned, and the club have thanked those who lent a hand:
Huge thanks to our fans. The snow has been removed and the training pitch is clear again.
Rosenthal leaves Eagles
Bundesliga 2 high-flyers SV Darmstadt 98 have secured the services of Jan Rosenthal on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, the Bundesliga club confirmed with a tweet:
Hard week ahead
With midweek fixtures, and then Matchday 20 at the weekend, there's no time to catch your breath...
No Monday morning blues
A weekend win is enough to make for high spirits at the start of the week, like 1. FC Köln, who triumphed
at Hamburg on Saturday. Incidentally, that win was the Billy Goats' fifth away from home this season - a tally matched only by FC Bayern. Their home form has not been so outstanding, though, with just one win in front of their own fans. For that and more interesting statistics,
Sunday 1 February
That's all for today folks, but we'll be back nice and early on Monday as we gear up for transfer deadline day. We'll be keeping you abreast of all the latest comings and goings in the Bundesliga ahead of the 18:00 CET deadline, so make sure you join is for that. Bye for now!
Here are the line-ups for Matchday 18's final encounter - FC Augsburg vs. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim:
Augsburg's players have started their warm-up ahead of their match with Hoffenheim this afternoon...
A video posted by FC Augsburg (@fcaugsburg1907) on Feb 1, 2015 at 7:52am PST
SV Werder Bremen will be hoping to maintain this strong record against their capital city visitors today, but it certainly bodes well for them picking three pivotal points.
One hour to go! The team news should be with us shortly.
Two hours to go
The countdown is on ahead of the first Sunday afternoon game of 2015 in Germany's top flight. With so much on the line for SV Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin will home advantage play it's part in deciding the fate of both these sides?
No rest for the...Bundesliga teams
There is no lying in this Sunday - with a midweek round of matches, or
as they refer to it in Germany, every day counts to get prepared for the next appointment.
Stepping up to the plate
With first-choice goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann sidelined, FC Schalke 04's Fabian Giefer made the most of his opportunity to stake a claim between the sticks much to the delight of the Royal Blue faithful. Click
to find out what the 24-year-old made of his and Schalke's performance in the 1-0 win over Hannover 96.
Pinch, punch, first of the month
The Bundesliga got the
proceedings underway in style and today is set wrap up Matchday 18 with two encounters that could give a strong indication of the fate set to befall the four teams involved. First up a relegation six-pointer between
, where a positive result for either side would lift them into 12th place, whilst giving them some much-needed breathing room above the drop zone.
Second on Sunday's docket is the clash of the German top flight's surprise packages,
. Both sides are knocking on the door of European qualification coming into the second half of the season, meaning victory for either would represent another step in the right and perhaps unexpected direction.
Translation: Today counts!!!
Translation: MATCHDAY! The wait is finally over.
Saturday 31 January
That brings an end to Saturday's coverage, but we'll be back tomorrow with all the match reaction and pre-game build-up you can shake a stick at. SV Werder Bremen kick things off at home to Hertha Berlin at 15:30 CET, with TSG Hoffenheim set to round off a big weekend in the Bundesliga away to surprise top-seven package FC Augsburg two hours later. 19 goals and counting - you don't want to miss a second of the remaining action. Ciao for now!
Here's the Borussia Dortmund line-up for this evening - it's a BVB debut for Kevin Kampl:
Hosts Leverkusen have opted for a strong line-up against BVB:
The line-ups are in...
Kick-off fast approaching
With just over an hour to go until the afternoon fixtures get under way, them teams are already arriving at the stadiums...
Home sweet home
The Royal Blues are certainly eager for the action to commence...
If you're unsure which of the tasty Bundesliga ties to watch today, you could do worse than opting for Schalke versus Hannover. The last ten league fixtures between the two have produced an average of 3.8 goals per game - and one of the most spectacular matches came in the 2012/13 season. Check it out below, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.
Call to arms
FC Schalke 04 are getting their fans in the mood, but technically that picture doesn't count as a selfie, does it?
Greetings from afar
With Guinea getting through to the AFCON quarter-finals, Ibrahima Traore is hoping his Borussia Mönchengladbach team-mates can get the job done in his absence against the winger's former side VfB Stuttgart
Patience is a virtue
Being last to play on the opening weekend of action in the
must be like being left out of a kick about in the school yard. Fortunately for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim they do have a tie
to look forward to tomorrow.
It appears that
will be that little bit easier to spot on the pitch when
later today. How could you miss those bedazzled new boots!?
Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund will wrap up today's proceedings in Saturday's
and if this tweet is anything to go by BVB will be well represented at the BayArena.
It's not just Bundesliga fans the world over that are reveling in the Bundesliga's restart as it appears some of the stars in Germany's top flight have been gripped by the
fever ahead of today's encounters.
Guardiola humble in defeat
It can't have been easy to watch his side undone in such spectacular fashion by VfL Wolfsburg, but FC Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola was quick to credit his opponents in his post-match press conference.
Rise and shine
Good morning ladies and gentlemen! Bundesliga fans around the world are waking up with a smile on their face this morning, providing they're not supporters of a certain Bavarian behemoth. VfL Wolfsburg got the ball rolling in emphatic fashion, but there are plenty of teams hoping to follow in their footsteps by picking up three points today.
Friday 30 January
The Wolfsburg bench...
Here's the Bayern line-up for tonight:
And here's the bench Pep Guardiola has chosen...
"It's getting tense - Bayern are here!"
Excitement is nearing fever pitch in Wolfsburg for tonight's top-of-the-table clash...
BVB seem to have one aim this weekend...
Hertha Berlin have tweeted a couple of personnel updates ahead of their match away to Bremen on Sunday:
1. FC Köln's mascot Hennes seems to want to see our video on Anthony Ujah...
...it's right over here, Hennes - but it's for everyone to enjoy!
Kevin de Bruyne is in confident mood ahead of the visit of the league leaders:
It would be quite a turn up for the books if this happened tonight, but you never know...
Hannover 96's latest recruit Joao Pereira is like a boy with a new toy after moving to the Bundesliga. The Portuguese star posted a picture of his Hannover shirt on Instagram, accompanied by the words "New shirt, new number!" Here's to hoping he is equally upbeat after his debut on Saturday...
Ein von João Pereira (@joaopereira47) gepostetes Foto am 30. Jan 2015 um 6:58 Uhr
Despite Olic's departure, FC Bayern centre-back Dante is expecting a very tight game at the Volkswagen Arena...
No. No we haven't.
There have been an abundance of outstanding goals on the opening Rückrunde weekend in recent years. Here are ten of the best, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel:
They may be hovering dangerously close to the automatic relegation places, but Werder Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik is in confident mood going into Sunday's game with Hertha Berlin...
That said, they did lose 2-1 to the Reds back on Matchday 1...
Need we say more...?
Schalke welcome Hannover 96 to the Veltins Arena on Saturday. Will the snow have cleared by then, I wonder?
Wolfsburg head coach Dieter Hecking has confirmed that Naldo will be fit for Friday's visit of the league leaders: