Fifth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach host third-in-the-table Hertha Berlin in a contest of gargantuan importance in the race for a top-four finish on Sunday (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
With only six points standing between the two sides, minor details could make all the difference. Accordingly, bundesliga.com has picked out the battles that could decide the encounter…
Andreas Christensen vs Salomon Kalou
Fresh from the international circuit, Andreas Christensen assumes defensive pillar-in-chief duties for Gladbach. Not only did the 19-year-old Chelsea FC loanee make his first start for Denmark in last week's 2-1 friendly win over Iceland, but he earned comparisons with one of football's all-time greats to boot. "He reminds me of Franz Beckenbauer," said Denmark head coach Age Hareide. "He has it all."
That effusive praise aside, even Der Kaiser would have had his work cut out against Hertha leading goalscorer Salomon Kalou. The 30-year-old forward has hit top form in his second season in the capital, scoring 13 of Hertha's 37 Bundesliga goals so far this term. He has lost none of his sharpness and will give Christensen plenty to think about.
Mahmoud Dahoud vs Genki Haraguchi
Christensen will be in good company in any case, not least with the effervescent Mahmoud Dahoud working himself to the bone in front of the back four. The Syria-born midfielder is enjoying his breakthrough campaign in the Bundesliga, locking down a regular starting berth on account of his innate capacity to marry the defensive dirty work with spurts of attacking flair.
The Germany Under-21 international will have plenty of the former to do up against Hertha's Genki Haraguchi. The Japan international usually lines up on the right-hand side of attack, bringing pace and staying power to the table – as well as the occasional goal or assist. With Gladbach favouring a back three in recent games, Dahoud may have to go that extra mile to keep the Samurai Blue star in check.
Fabian Johnson vs Mitchell Weiser
The only USMNT international on show, Fabian Johnson could also find himself tackling Haraguchi head-on. The Munich-born wide man - who remains a doubt with injury - was deployed at left-wing back in the Foals' 2-1 defeat to FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 27, although is arguably at his best when given licence to roam further up the park (six goals, three assists this season).
Hertha right-back Mitchell Weiser can certainly match the 28-year-old for pace, but if he manages to outstrip him and get balls into the danger zone, Vedad Ibisevic and Co. should have plenty to feed on in and around the Gladbach six-yard box.