Bundesliga Matchday 16: Leaders Bayern back in action at Leipzig
Table-toppers Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga action after the winter break with a difficult trip to third-placed RB Leipzig.
Nearest challengers Freiburg face a tough test of their own, visiting a Wolfsburg outfit in hot pursuit of the European places.
Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to start 2023 with a home victory against struggling Augsburg.
Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin are also both on their own patch, taking on Schalke and Hoffenheim, respectively.
Game of the week: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich (Friday, 7.30pm)
Leipzig bounced back from a disappointing start to the season, picking up 23 points in 10 games under Marco Rose before the Bundesliga paused for the World Cup.
They have only dropped two points from seven home fixtures this term — but Bayern boast the division's strongest record on the road, picking up a league-high 17 points from eight outings.
Die Roten’s record against tonight’s opponents is strong, winning their last four clashes and not suffering defeat to the Red Bulls since March 2018.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men ended 2022 in fine form, winning 10 games on the bounce — including six successive league victories — to establish a four-point lead over second-placed Freiburg.
Borussia Dortmund vs Augsburg (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Dortmund go into this fixture having lost their last two games and will desperately wish to re-start their campaign with a comfortable win.
Augsburg appear to be appealing opponents based on form, having failed to win any of their last eight outings (three draws, five defeats), a run which stretches back to October 2.
The Bavarians have taken fewer shots (102) than any other side in the competition, while also facing the most from open play (179).
BVB, meanwhile, have recorded the second-most efforts in the division (160) but have the worst conversion rate from big chances (32%).
Wolfsburg vs Freiburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Freiburg find themselves leading the pack chasing perennial champions Bayern and know they cannot afford to slip up if they are to put pressure on the league leaders.
With 30 points from their 15 games so far, the Breisgau Brazilians are enjoying their best-ever Bundesliga season at this stage and will be keen to maintain their momentum.
Encouragingly for Christian Streich’s side, they have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Saturday’s opponents Wolfsburg (four wins, three draws).
However, the hosts have won each of their last four Bundesliga outings, conceding just once in that run.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Schalke (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Top-four chasing Frankfurt welcome bottom-of-the-table Schalke, with the visitors looking set for more misery on Saturday.
The hosts have not lost any of their last 10 games on their own patch against Die Knappen (six wins, four draws) and have recorded more home wins in this fixture than against any other top-tier club (27).
Thomas Reis’ side have already lost 10 league matches this term after just 15 contests — their joint-worst record at this stage of the season.
Schalke are yet to record a victory in any of their last 35 Bundesliga clashes on the road (10 draws, 25 defeats) — the joint-longest run in the competition’s history.
Union Berlin vs Hoffenheim (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Union have faded somewhat after topping the table earlier this term — but remain well in contention for a top-four spot if they can arrest their slide.
Die Eisernen’s next opponents Hoffenheim are five Bundesliga matches without a win (one draw, four defeats).
However, Union have shipped 11 goals in their last three outings — two more than in their first 12 league games combined (nine).
Urs Fischer’s outfit will hope to lean on their strong home form, enjoying a 13-game unbeaten run on their own patch in the league (nine wins, four draws).
The weekend's other games
Bochum vs Hertha Berlin (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Stuttgart vs Mainz (Saturday, 2.30pm)
FC Cologne vs Werder Bremen (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 4.30pm)