Bundesliga preview: Bayern enter busy week
By Football News
After back-to-back draws, Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich return to domestic action ahead of a heavy load of fixtures.
Jupp Heynckes' side faced Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday and did enough to secure qualification to the knockout stages with a draw at the Mestalla.
Bayern remain eight points clear at the top of the league with 10 wins from 12 matches, but the Valencia result was their second consecutive stalemate after they were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by lowly Nuremberg last Saturday.
Memories of the same eight-point lead they squandered last year will be at the forefront of Heynckes' mind with games against Mainz (Saturday), Freiburg and last season's eventual champions Borussia Dortmund falling in the next seven days.
Juergen Klopp's Dortmund safely secured Champions League qualification on Tuesday and sit atop the illustrious Group D and can keep up the pressure on Bayern with a third consecutive win in the league at eighth-placed Mainz on Saturday.
After struggling early in the season, Dortmund appear to have returned to peak form and were unstoppable on the break against Ajax on Wednesday in a 4-1 win.
Marco Reus and Mario Gotze produced a master class and striker Robert Lewandowski scored a brace with goals either side of half-time.
Both Bayern and Dortmund can rest easy with European progressions assured, but the same cannot be said in the league where they will lock horns in seven days time either side of other fixtures.
Second and third - Schalke and Frankfurt - meet on Saturday and could slip behind Dortmund if they play out a draw.
Schalke became the third German side to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday courtesy of Christian Fuch's sublime 30-yard strike in a 1-0 win over Olympiakos.
Fortuna Dusseldorf are at home to Hamburg on Friday looking for a first league win in eight games and Wolfsburg will go searching for a third consecutive win at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Lowly Greuther Furth host Nuremberg while on Sunday Freiburg are in action against Stuttgart and Hoffenheim entertain fifth-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
Rock-bottom Augsburg host Borussia Moenchengladbach and will look to avoid a fifth straight defeat.