What does the final Bundesliga outing before the winter break have in store?
bundesliga.com previews the penultimate round of Hinrunde action...
Watch: How to vote for your Team of the Hinrunde:
Title race alive and well
As the Bundesliga prepares to take a break for a month, the race for the title at this stage of the season is very much alive and kicking. That FC Bayern München are in the mix is no surprise, but few would have predicted that RB Leipzig would be their main contenders by now. In fact, the east German top-flight debutants have hardly put a foot wrong and recently won eight matches in a row, but their final outing before the Winterpause is their biggest test yet. Wednesday's clash with Bayern at the Allianz Arena could have a huge say in the destination of the title this season, as well as confirming who will be the Herbstmeister – the mid-season leaders – for 2016/17.
Watch: Bayern and Leipzig's #BLFantasy stars:
Leipzig pride come what may
Regardless of what happens at the Allianz on Wednesday, Leipzig can look back on their start to life in the Bundesliga with enormous pride. To remain undefeated until Matchday 14, until then one of only three teams to do so across Europe’s top five leagues, is an achievement it itself, and one all the more impressive considering their lack of top-flight experience. The bold, pressing style instilled in his side by coach Ralph Hasenhüttl has left opponents trailing in their wake, and the way they bounced back from defeat by FC Ingolstadt 04 to beat Bundesliga old-stagers Hertha Berlin 2-0 on Matchday 15 suggests Leipzig have the spirit to battle for the title beyond the winter break.
Watch: Hard work and smart thinking the key to Leipzig's success.
Auba's favourite opposition?
FC Augsburg’s hard-earned 1-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 15 gave new coach Manuel Baum a perfect start to his tenure. However, their visit to SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Tuesday is likely to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang licking his lips in anticipation, given his sensational record against Die Fuggerstädter. The Gabonese striker netted hat-tricks against Augsburg in 2013/14 and 2015/16, and his smart dink against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last Friday gave him his 16th of the season, as well as his 100th competitive goal for Dortmund. He must be fancying his chances of heading nearer to 200 this week.
Watch: Aubameyang on the race to be this season's top scorer:
Gladbach and Wolfsburg in need of Christmas cheer
This time last year, Borussia Mönchengladbach occupied fourth place in the table while VfL Wolfsburg were just three below them. Flip the calendar forward 12 months and it is a very different story, with the sides 13th and 15th respectively and both looking to their clash at BORUSSIA-PARK on Tuesday for a much-needed boost ahead of the winter break. The top four is a long way away for each side, but at least the Wolves have Matchday 15's morale-boosting win over Eintracht Frankfurt from to boost their hopes. Victory to round off what has been a difficult Hinrunde for both sides would be a welcome early Christmas present.
Watch: Matchwinner Jeffrey Bruma says Wolfsburg should have won by more against Frankfurt:
Double derby fever
Two mouth-watering local match-ups bring 2016 to a close for four sides on Matchday 16. Frankfurt host 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Tuesday 20 December for a Rhine-Main derby that could impact upon each side's European ambitions. Mainz ended a run of three straight defeats with a 3-1 win over Hamburger SV at the weekend, but Frankfurt are now winless in three following their 1-0 loss at Wolfsburg. On Wednesday, meanwhile, 1. FC Köln are without a win in four and host Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who suffered a a 2-1 home defeat by relegation-threatened FC Ingolstadt 04 on Sunday. With so much at stake as well as local bragging rights, both games promise an intriguing end to a fascinating season so far.