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Sports

Bundesliga: Gladbach face Wolfsburg without Sommer, Schalke welcome Cologne

The eyes of the football world will be on Sunday's Bundesliga clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but the rest of the action includes a match-up between two Champions League sides.

There is only one game catching the attention of all German football fans around the world this weekend. Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund is a rivalry born of the modern era and, despite it not consistently being a top-two clash in the table it remains a game between Germany's top two teams. From Pep Guardiola against Thomas Tuchel to Robert Lewandowski against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the stories are endless. Sunday night's encounter is, as ever, hugely anticipated.

There are other games in the Bundesliga this weekend of course, and perhaps none more intriguing than Gladbach against Wolfsburg. Both sides are coming off a disappointing Champions League week in which good starts turned into defeats against both the Manchester clubs. Wolfsburg have had the much better start to the league season, collecting double Gladbach's points, and they have a further advantage this weekend after the host's goalkeeper Yann Sommer was ruled out with a broken nose. Gladbach can take heart from the fact they haven't lost any of the last five meetings at Borussia Park and that Wolfsburg haven't won away in the league since their trip to Paderborn at the end of last season. Raffael's form - five assists and a goal in his last two league games - is key to Gladbach.

Andre Breintenreiter's men will be hoping to put added pressure on rivals Dortmund by beating Cologne in Sunday's early kick-off. Schalke has won six consecutive games after their Thursday night win in the Europa League, but didn't take any points off Peter Stöger's team last season. That may well change this year with Cologne coming into this one having conceded eight in their last two away games, although in-form striker Anthony Modeste (five goals, four assists) may disagree.

Bottom of the table Hannover host Werder Bremen in a battle for form. Hannover, who recently appointed former Nuremberg chairman Martin Bader as chief executive, earned a surprise point away to Wolfsburg last time out but remains the only team without a win this season. Werder started well but has since lost three in a row, scoring one goal in the process. Still, no club has scored more goals in Hanover than Werder (56) and Viktor Skripnik will be hoping that run continues on the weekend.

Hertha Berlin and Hamburg have surprised everyone with their starts to the season. The capital club has 11 points and currently occupies a Europa League spot, while Hamburg has the same number of points as their tenth-placed position in the table. It might come down to whether or not the visitors can shut down newly-signed and newly-scoring Hertha striker Vedad Ibisevic as Hertha look to make it five clean-sheet victories against Hamburg in a row.

Deutschland Fußball-Bundesliga Hertha BSC Berlin vs 1. FC Köln Torschütze Vedad Ibisevic

Hertha's new signing Ibisevic scored two goals last time out at home in Berlin

Despite the season being just seven games old, Hoffenheim against Stuttgart is already shaping up to be a relegation battle. Last week's much needed win against Augsburg saw Markus Gisdol's men climb out of the danger zone but are only two points ahead of Stuttgart, who can't seem to win however hard they try or well they play (only one win so far). Stuttgart must shut down Hoffenheim's new striker Eduardo Vargas - who has assisted three of the club's last four goals - while also making sure they don't add to their league-high tally of six goals conceded in the final quarter of an hour.

Fellow newcomers Ingolstadt host Frankfurt on Saturday and will need their first home goal of the season to beat Armin Veh's side. And although on at the same time as Bayern against Dortmund, those watching Leverkusen against Augsburg may have the last laugh if goalkeeper Marwin Hitz repeats his goalscoring heroics from February.

Matchday eight fixtures:

Darmstadt 2-3 Mainz (Friday)

Gladbach vs. Wolfsburg (Saturday)

Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart

Hannover vs. Werder Bremen

Hertha vs. Hamburg

Ingolstadt vs. Frankfurt

Schalke vs. Cologne (Sunday)

Leverkusen vs. Augsburg

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund