bundesliga.com rounds up the stories hitting the headlines in the Bundesliga after the latest weekend of action.
Not many new signings have to wait 256 days to make their competitive debuts, but then again, not many people have Manuel Neuer blocking their path to the first team. On Saturday, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola rested his regular No1 and handed his first appearance in goal for Bayern away to Bremen, where the Spaniard duly kept a clean sheet in a 4-0 victory. Afterwards, the 33-year-old was understandably delighted to have made his Bundesliga bow:
Matchday 25 was memorable for two Bundesliga veterans who returned to action following lengthy lay-offs. Bayern captain took to the pitch as an 82nd minute substitute, having been absent since Matchday 11 due to an ankle fracture. Frankfurt striker also made his comeback after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury sustained on Matchday 2. The Paraguayan marked the occasion by scoring with a wonderful chipped effort to make it 4-0 against Paderborn.
Roger Schmidt's Leverkusen side did not start 2015 as well as they'd have liked, taking just five league points from the first 15 available. However, they have since turned things around and the Werkself's 4-0 thrashing of Stuttgart on Friday was their fifth successive victory in all competitions: UEFA Champions League, DFB Cup and Bundesliga. Furthermore, the fact that they kept a clean sheet in each of those fixtures points to Leverkusen finding form just when it matters most.
How do you top scoring a stunning goal in a 4-3 victory away to reigning European champions Real Madrid CF? Tough as that may sound, the latest talent to roll off the Schalke production line, (l.), managed to do just that only four days after hitting the target in the Spanish capital. Not only did the 19-year-old make his Bundesliga starting debut for the Royal Blues away to Hertha Berlin, he scored Schalke's first with a sublime dink in the 2-2 draw.
Were it not for , Borussia Mönchengladbach would be scrambling for a place in the UEFA Europa League next season rather than leading the hunt for a UEFA Champions League berth. His seventh and eighth goals of the season helped the Foals get all three points against Hannover on Matchday 25 and mean he has now netted half of Gladbach's ten Bundesliga goals since the winter break, securing 12 points almost single-handedly.