Coming up on the Bundesliga Preview Show this week...
Another matchday, another four goals for Bayern - this time on what had looked like an exceedingly tough trip to Bremen. Wolfsburg remain just about in sight of them after beating Freiburg, with the battle for the remaining two Champions League places looking increasingly like a three-way tussle between Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen and Schalke. At the bottom, it's as you were from 14th-place Hertha down to cellar-dwellers Stuttgart. The Preview Show this week has a double dose of Bayern against Gladbach, past and present, ahead of their meeting on Sunday. Schalke host Leverkusen in another cracker and there are also special features on Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik and two of the Bundesliga's most gifted midfielders, Hakan Calhanoglu and a thankfully fit-again Ilkay Gündogan. All this plus highlights, top goals and more.
The number of regular-season Bundesliga games left is into single figures now, in contrast to FC Bayern's lead at the top of the standings. We start the programme in countdown mode as well, with a look back at three weekend brace-baggers, two Far Eastern stars who earned 1. FSV Mainz 05 a long-overdue away win and goal number one of the season for a couple of other players. Zero meanwhile was the number of goals Pepe Reina conceded on his debut for Bayern, although the Spain international's most notable stat really belongs at the other end of the count – he has just become the first keeper to play in all four of Europe's top leagues.
The final game of Matchday 26 is also undoubtedly the bill-topper, with FC Bayern München playing host to third-place Borussia Mönchengladbach. This, of course, was the ultimate Bundesliga rivalry of the early- to mid-1970s, when a Gladbach side containing the likes of Netzer, Vogts and Heynckes battled it out on level terms with the legendary Bayern of Beckenbauer, Müller, Breitner and Co. Borussia fans can take no little heart from their side's record in more recent times as well. They may still be some way off restoring the parity of yore, but they do have the enviable knack of knowing how to make life difficult for their old Munich rivals.
In his first season at the club, he is the creative linchpin of Roger Schmidt's full-throttle Bayer 04 Leverkusen side, not to mention a dead-ball expert who seeks his like in the Bundesliga: Hakan Calhanoglu. Still only 20, the Mannheim native and Turkey international has enjoyed a spectacular rise to Bundesliga stardom over the past couple of seasons. In interview, he talks about his extraordinary shooting technique and the season so far, and yet to come, for Bayer - who are hitting their stride nicely again at just the right time.