Bundesliga preview: Leverkusen seek to end Bayern domination
Bayern Munich will look to maintain their perfect start to the Bundesliga season when Bayer Leverkusen travels to Allianz Arena on Sunday.
Germany's most successful club have made a blistering start to the campaign, winning their opening eight games in dominant fashion.
The 22-time Bundesliga champions thrashed promoted outfit Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 to take their goal tally to 26, while conceding a mere two goals.
Jupp Heynckes men, who returned to winning ways in the UEFA Champions League after registering a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Lille, could possibly open up an eight-point lead atop of the standings if results go their way.
With Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Mueller netting 13 goals between them, many are expecting Bayern to make it nine wins from nine in the league but Leverkusen have enjoyed considerable success against the Bavarians.
Leverkusen, who occupy fifth position, ran out 2-0 winners in the pair's last league meeting at BayArena in March, with Stefan Kiessling and Karim Bellarabi bagging second-half goals.
That result, along with their five-game unbeaten streak, should fill manager Sami Hyypia and his youthful Leverkusen side with confidence leading into Sunday's encounter.
A loss for Bayern, however, would open the door for surprise-packets Eintracht Frankfurt to close the gap to just two points.
Frankfurt, who have lost just once this season and sit second on the table, make the trip to Stuttgart knowing they could make significant inroads on Bayern or slip down to third with Schalke hot on their tail.
Schalke overcame fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 last time out to further demonstrate their title credentials.
The seven-time Bundesliga winners, seeking their first league crown since 1958, are in impressive form, with three wins in four matches moving them to within two points of Frankfurt heading into their home encounter against struggling Nurnberg.
Defending champions Dortmund can ill-afford any more slips and face a tricky trip to Freiburg on Saturday.
Dortmund are 12 points adrift of Bayern after just eight games and a second successive defeat could all but end their championship bid, even at such an early stage of the season.
In other fixtures across the weekend, sixth-placed Hannover will look for a return to form at home to Europa League participants Borussia Moenchengladbach, relegation candidates Augsburg face Hamburg and Mainz plays host to lowly Hoffenheim.
Struggling Greuther Fuerth welcomes ninth-placed Werder Bremen to Trolli ARENA, while Dusseldorf do battle with cellar-dwellers Wolfsburg, who sacked manager Felix Magath on Thursday.