With just eight Matchdays of the 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign remaining, every game is crucial at both the top and bottom of the table.
As ever, bundesliga.com is on hand to run you through everything you need to know ahead of the latest round of fixtures...
Köln face Champions League curse
The omens do not look good for 1. FC Köln ahead of Saturday’s encounter with an FC Bayern München team returning to domestic duties after an incredible midweek UEFA Champions League triumph. The Bavarians have won all seven of their league fixtures immediately following European games this season, three of them by three or more goals. over second-placed Borussia Dortmund, however, Pep Guardiola is insistent that “every game is a final”. Köln, meanwhile, are on a high after securing their first league victory in five games and their first clean sheet since November against Hannover 96 last weekend. The win was accompanied by a change in formation, with coach Peter Stöger electing to play with two strikers at the HDI Arena. It was in defence that the Billy Goats truly shone, however, and they will need to do so again if they are to destabilise Bayern's title charge.
Augsburg braced for Aubameyang
The last time FC Augsburg faced Borussia Dortmund, star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a hat-trick. The Gabonese international loves playing against Markus Weinzierl's side, having scored seven goals in six appearances against Die Fuggerstädter. After three league games without a goal, Aubameyang will be hoping to rediscover his scoring touch at the WWK Arena on Sunday, and close the gap on Robert Lewandowski at the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts. For all Aubameyang's brilliance, it is Dortmund's defence which has seen them keep the pressure on Bayern in the title race of late. Thomas Tuchel's team have won nine of their last ten games in all competitions, conceding only two goals in the process. Even after their late heroics against SV Darmstadt 98 last weekend, Augsburg have a Herculean task ahead of them.
Foals and Schalke battle over Europe
One of Matchday 27's most mouth-watering clashes sees fourth take on fifth in the race for the UEFA Champions League spots. FC Schalke 04 are just one point behind Borussia Mönchengladbach after defeat to fellow high-fliers Hertha Berlin last weekend. With both sides lacking consistency, neither the Foals nor the Royal Blues have succeeded in breaking into the top three since Matchday 15, when Gladbach occupied the third and final automatic Champions League spot. With VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FSV Mainz 05 breathing down their necks, however, there is little margin for error at the VELTINS-Arena on Friday.
'Chicharito' searching for scoring boots
Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s clash with VfB Stuttgart back in October proved to be one of the games of the season. All seven goals came in the second half as Die Werkself recovered from 3-1 down to grab a late 4-3 victory courtesy of Admir Mehmedi's dramatic winner. With both teams in unpredictable form and Leverkusen's defence ravaged by injuries, another high-scoring encounter is not beyond the realms of possibility. If we are to see a repeat of October's thriller, Leverkusen's Mexican star Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez will be hoping he can rediscover his form. After a brilliant first six months in Leverkusen, the striker has scored just one league goal since January. Coach Roger Schmidt has faith in his striker, though, describing him as “a crucial part of the team”.
Frankfurt and Hannover fighting for their lives
Time is fast running out for teams near the foot of the table to clamber out of trouble. Hannover 96 are rooted to the bottom, having lost nine of their last ten games. The situation is not much better for Eintracht Frankfurt, who sit in the relegation play-off place without a win in their last eight matches. “The pressure is building, we have to hold our nerve,” said Eintracht's new boss Niko Kovac after losing his first game in charge 3-0 to Gladbach. With TSG 1899 Hoffenheim beginning to find their form, Frankfurt are in danger of slipping into the automatic relegation spots if they lose on Saturday. Alexander Meier's return from injury is becoming an ever more pressing issue for the Eagles, who will be hoping Mexican ace Marco Fabian can find his form. Hannover, meanwhile, are clinging on to their top-flight status for dear life, with seven points between them and 16th-placed Frankfurt. A win on Matchday 27 would catapult them back into the relegation battle, but another defeat would all but condemn them to the drop.