Coming up on the Bundesliga Preview Show this week...
Back from the international break and raring to go again, the Bundesliga Preview Show this week kicks off with an appetiser for Saturday's clash of the titans between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München. The stakes may not be as high as has usually been the case of late, but a look back at some of those recent meetings provides a salient reminder that this is never one for the faint-hearted.
We also spend time with Dortmund skipper Mats Hummels and Bayern newcomer Sebastian Rode, take a look at one of the game's fastest-rising young coaches and his newest Bundesliga colleague, with a real job on his hands at Hamburg, examine Mönchengladbach's current formula for success, check out some of the top players at the bottom end of the standings and get things underway in our Team of the Season vote.
Borussia Dortmund against FC Bayern. Over the past few years, this old-time Bundesliga rivalry has earned its niche among the classics of the world game as well, a reputation cemented by their head-to-head in the 2013 UEFA Champions League final.
Jürgen Klopp is the man behind the revival that propelled Dortmund back into the upper echelons of European football and even though ten places and more than 30 points currently separate the sides, Bayern have every reason to be very wary of the hosts going into Saturday's big game at the Signal Iduna Park, as a brief overview of their record against BVB under Klopp will amply demonstrate. We'll also get the views of some of the protagonists from either side ahead of the latest instalment.
It has been a long time coming but, third in the table and looking ever stronger as the season progresses - exemplified by their 2-0 win in Munich last time out - Borussia Mönchengladbach are well on the road back to the top of the German game under Lucien Favre.
On the tactical front, those occasions on which the Foals have been similarly dominant in possession of the ball have not necessarily been best rewarded in terms of points. That said, and a plethora of skilful, pacy wide midfielders notwithstanding, they are far from being a pure counter-attacking side either, with the likes of Max Kruse and Raffael also thrown into the creative mix. We examine the multi-pronged secret of Gladbach's success.
In their first half-season under Markus Weinzierl in 2012, FC Augsburg earned all of nine points and already looked to have one-and-a-half feet back in Bundesliga 2. A remarkable turnaround after the winter break saw the management's faith in their new coach rewarded and come the end of the campaign, the Bavarian Swabians had escaped the drop with something to spare.
Last year they finished eighth and Weinzierl's fellow professionals voted him coach of the season, ahead of Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp. The story continues in 2014/15, with Augsburg well in the running for a debut place on the European stage under the aegis of the 40-year-old tactician, himself in the fast lane to joining the game's coaching elite.