Bundesliga Matchday 9: Dortmund and Bayern clash in Der Klassiker
The first Klassiker of the season has arrived, as Borussia Dortmund take on Bayern Munich in a tantalising encounter at the Westfalenstadion.
Elsewhere, leaders Union Berlin will be looking to bounce back from their first league defeat of the campaign when they face winless Stuttgart, while second-placed Freiburg will hope to capitalise on any slip-up as they visit Hertha Berlin.
Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke are both aiming to reverse their fortunes after difficult seasons so far, with the former second-bottom and the latter only a point better off.
Eintracht Frankfurt will fancy their chances of leapfrogging the loser of Der Klassiker — or even both sides if they draw — as they take on rock-bottom Bochum.
Game of the week: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich (Saturday, 5.30pm)
German football's most-played fixture in the Bundesliga era is set for its 132nd edition.
This is the first time in 13 years that these two teams meet with neither side in the top two of the table.
Dortmund will be hoping to reverse their recent lack of good fortune in this fixture, having lost all eight of their last competitive meetings with Bayern — their longest run of defeats against an opponent.
However, they may take heart from the fact that Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann has lost more Bundesliga games against Dortmund (six) than any other club.
Stuttgart vs Union Berlin (Sunday, 6.30pm)
Stuttgart and Union Berlin have only met eight times in all competitions — with six ending in draws.
The visitors come into this one as heavy favourites, sitting top of the Bundesliga table despite their 14-game league unbeaten run being ended by Frankfurt last time out.
Stuttgart, meanwhile, are one of two winless sides left in the division, having failed to win any of their first eight Bundesliga games for the first time in their history (five draws, three defeats).
The hosts have won just once in their last 15 outings in the competition (nine draws, five defeats) and have failed to keep a clean sheet in a club-record 25 consecutive top-flight home matches.
Union could hardly have asked for a more appealing fixture to bounce back in.
Hertha Berlin vs Freiburg (Sunday, 4.30pm)
Second-placed Freiburg are level on points with leaders Union and will want to keep the pressure on when they face Hertha in the capital.
Positively for the visitors, they have won five of the last seven meetings between the two teams (with two defeats) and are unbeaten in their previous nine outings this term (seven wins, two draws).
Hertha's four-game unbeaten run (one win, three draws) looks impressive at a glance — but the Berlin outfit are not playing as well as that would make it seem.
They have yet to win at home this term (three draws, one defeat) and only bottom club Bochum have scored fewer goals (five) than their paltry total of eight.
Freiburg may feel confident of keeping their opponents at bay — particularly from set-pieces. They are the only team yet to concede a set-piece goal, while Hertha are one of just two sides yet to score from such situations.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Schalke (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Leverkusen desperately need a win in new boss Xabi Alonso's first game — and history is on their side ahead of their clash with Schalke.
Only against Stuttgart (39) do their hosts have more Bundesliga wins than they do against this weekend's visitors (34) and they are unbeaten in their last six meetings (four wins, two draws).
Schalke have failed to win any of their last 32 away games in the Bundesliga (10 draws, 22 defeats) — a club record.
But Leverkusen are winless in their last four league outings (two draws, two defeats) and sit second-bottom of the table with just five points after eight matches.
These two sides have the second and third-worst defensive records in the league this season, with Leverkusen's 16 and Schalke's 17 only behind bottom club Bochum's total of 23 conceded.
Bochum vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Historically, Bochum have a better Bundesliga record against Frankfurt than they do against any other team, with 24 wins and 19 clean sheets in encounters with the Eagles.
However, they sit bottom of the league with just one point after eight games and a goal difference of -18 — the worst start of any team in Bundesliga history.
Frankfurt, meanwhile, are in good form. They are yet to lose an away league match (two wins, one draw) and have won four of their last five in the competition (one defeat).
Having just beaten league leaders Union Berlin 2-0 in their last Bundesliga outing, they will expect to repeat the feat against a side at the opposite end of the table.
The weekend's other games
Hoffenheim vs Werder Bremen (Friday, 7.30pm)
Augsburg vs Wolfsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Mainz vs RB Leipzig (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs FC Cologne (Sunday, 2.30pm)
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