With only seven games left of the 2015/16 Bundesliga's regular-season schedule, we are officially in business-end territory.
Who will win the title? Which sides will qualify for Europe? And which fateful pair will slip away into the second tier? These are just a handful of questions set to be answered in the weeks ahead.
Bayern on pole ahead of Dortmund
Starting at the top, the two-way tussle for the Meisterschale is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet. Defending champions FC Bayern München are currently five points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, but their pursuit of a record fourth successive title is littered with potential pitfalls.
Sandwiched between games against relegation-threatened duo Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover 96, Pep Guardiola's side still have to face three of the Bundesliga’s current top five in FC Schalke 04, Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach, as well as two sides - VfB Stuttgart and FC Ingolstadt 04 - by no means immune to being sucked into the drop zone at the eleventh hour.
It is Schalke, however, that could have a major say in the destination of German football's top prize. A week after travelling to Munich on Matchday 29, the Royal Blues host Ruhr district rivals Dortmund in the Revierderby. Victory might just be enough to effectively hand Bayern the title, but defeat would leave their own hopes of securing UEFA Champions League football hinging on Matchday 31's clash with sixth-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
In any case, the ever-changing complexion of the top six has been a source of comfort for last season’s runners-up VfL Wolfsburg, who currently sit six points adrift of the coveted top four. The Wolves tackle Leverkusen and seventh-in-the-table 1. FSV Mainz 05 immediately after the international break, albeit either side of their Champions League quarter-final first leg with Real Madrid CF.
By contrast, surprise package Hertha have no such added pressures to contend with. The Old Lady have occupied third place since the close of play on Matchday 16 and can take another huge step to joining Bayern and Dortmund in next season's Champions League by beating one of their closest pursuers Gladbach on Matchday 28.
Matchday 31's Nordderby between Hamburg and SV Werder Bremen is an additional highlight to look forward to in the coming weeks. HSV were looking like a safe bet for a mid-table finish until recently, but a six-match winless run - including four successive defeats - has plunged them back into uncertain waters shared by SV Darmstadt 98, Bremen and FC Augsburg.
The goals of the Bundesliga's all-time leading foreign scorer Claudio Pizarro have been a real godsend for 14th-placed Bremen in that particular scrap, not least given that three of the Bundesliga’s bottom four are locked on 27 points, separated only by goal difference. The Green-Whites face Augsburg on Matchday 29 in one of a handful of relegation six-pointers between now and May.
Second-bottom Frankfurt still have fixtures to come against relegation play-off incumbents TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, promoted Darmstadt and Bremen, but it is the task facing table-propping Hannover that would appear to be the most daunting of the lot. Already ten points adrift of the three sides above them, survival may be a mathematical impossibility by the time the Reds host Gladbach on Matchday 30, unless they can take something from games against Hamburg and Hertha.
The relegation battle went right down to the wire last season, but there could be a whole lot more on the line at both ends of the spectrum come the final day, as the Bundesliga's 18 clubs prepare to launch themselves into the final straight. A head-start could make all the difference.