Bundesliga Matchday 25: Bayern aim to take control of title race at Leverkusen
Bayern Munich can take an important step forward in their pursuit of the Bundesliga title when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
However, that will depend on how Borussia Dortmund get on at home to FC Cologne the previous evening.
Union Berlin have slipped out of the title race somewhat but they could cut the gap between themselves and the top two when Eintracht Frankfurt visit the capital.
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig are in action on the road at Bochum, while Hoffenheim's clash with Hertha Berlin is of significant interest in the relegation battle.
Game of the weekend: Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich (Sunday, 4.30pm)
Bayern could potentially go five points clear at the Bundesliga's summit when they travel to take on Leverkusen.
The hosts do not have a great record against FCB — Xabi Alonso's men have lost six of their last seven home games against the reigning German champions. They will, however, have been lifted by a comprehensive Europa League triumph over Ferencvaros on Thursday.
Historically, Die Roten enjoy doing battle with Leverkusen. Since Die Werkself were promoted to the Bundesliga in 1979, Bayern have only beaten Stuttgart on more occasions.
A curiosity of this game is the fact that Leverkusen boss Alonso played 117 matches in all competitions for Bayern between 2014 and 2017. This is his first time facing them as coach.
Borussia Dortmund vs FC Cologne (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Dortmund have the opportunity to momentarily leapfrog Bayern when they host Cologne on Saturday.
Their recent record against the mid-table outfit leaves a lot to be desired, however — BVB have won just one of their last five meetings with the Billy Goats (two draws, two defeats).
But they are in good form, especially at home. Dortmund have taken 25 of a possible 27 points from their last nine Bundesliga home games, winning each of their previous six.
Cologne, on the other hand, have been in the midst of a fallow period on the road. They are winless in their last nine Bundesliga away fixtures (four draws, five defeats) — their worst record since 2017.
Union Berlin vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Union can get back to winning ways against Eintracht, who will be reeling from their Champions League exit at the hands of Napoli on Wednesday night.
But they face a stern test. Urs Fischer's side have lost four of the seven Bundesliga games that they have played against Die Adler (two wins, one draw). They only have a worse record against Bayern Munich.
Berlin were knocked out of the Europa League by Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday but Eintracht are also not in great form. They have failed to win in their last six away league games for the first time under Oliver Glasner (four draws, two defeats).
It will most certainly be a hard-fought encounter. Only Cologne (118.9km per game) have covered more ground than Union (118.6km) and Frankfurt (117.2km) on average this term.
Bochum vs RB Leipzig (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Leipzig will look to bounce back from the 7-0 mauling they suffered at the hands of Manchester City in the Champions League, when they travel to Bochum on Saturday.
And the Red Bulls are a good bet to do just that, having won each of their eight meetings with Der Blau across all competitions. Bochum have only suffered that many defeats against Bayern Munich between 1978 and 1982.
Thomas Letsch's team had enjoyed a strong record at the Ruhrstadion, winning five league games in a row, only to lose their two most recent home meetings with Freiburg and Schalke.
One outcome that appears to be unlikely is a draw. After all, Letsch is yet to preside over one in the 17 Bundesliga games that he has taken charge of to date (seven wins, 10 defeats).
Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin (Saturday, 2.30pm)
A key clash at the bottom of the Bundesliga lies in store this weekend when Hoffenheim and Hertha lock horns.
The hosts are rooted to the foot of the table but have beaten their visitors 10 times in the top flight since Hertha's promotion in 2013 (five draws, four defeats). They have only done better against Augsburg during that period (13 wins).
Pellegrino Matarazzo's team are in dire form. They have lost seven Bundesliga games in a row for the first time in their history and are bottom for the first time since January 2016.
That is not to say the visitors are flying on the road, though. Also battling relegation, they have the worst away record in the Bundesliga losing seven consecutive league games outside of Berlin.
The weekend's other games
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Werder Bremen (Friday, 7.30pm)
Augsburg vs Schalke (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Stuttgart vs Wolfsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Mainz vs Freiburg (Sunday, 6.30pm)
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