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Sports

Derby day promises distraction from post-Sweden gloom

Dortmund will face off against local archrivals Schalke this week. But Bundesliga action is overshadowed by the collective depression over Germany's performance against Sweden in their most recent World Cup qualifier.

German soccer fans are eager for something to take their minds off the disastrous developments last Tuesday. How could the German national team score four spectacular goals, dominating the match for over 60 minutes, only to suddenly collapse and concede four goals and let victory slip through their fingers?

As the heated debate continues over coach Joachim Löw's strategy, the lack of hierarchy in the team and the mental state of individual players, Bundesliga action resumes after a two-week break with something of a classic.

Saturday will see a new installment of the classic fight of two neighboring clubs: title holders Borussia Dortmund, currently fourth in the table, and Schalke, from Gelsenkirchen, who are in third place. This order could be reversed on Saturday.

"These derbies are always special and very emotional; the fans are geared up to give their best for their teams," Schalke defender Benedikt Höwedes said.

Bayern Munich will be facing off against Fortuna Düsseldorf, who have only been promoted this season and have been doing remarkably well so far. Düsseldorf have yet to be beaten at home and while Bayern are number one in the Bundesliga table with a comfortable lead, defender Jerome Boateng spoke of a "difficult game" for his team.

A Bayern defender may well be cautious right now, seeing as the German national team's back half - with the exception of Arsenal's Per Mertesacker - was made up of Munich players in the disastrous Sweden match.

Eintracht Frankfurt -Freiburg (Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt have had every reason to be jubilant

FSV Frankfurt, meanwhile, are another newly promoted team with an impressive record. They are in second place in the table, are also unbeaten at home and have managed to score at least two goals per home game. Reason enough for Hannover coach Mirko Slomka to warn: "Frankfurt is a team that is always good for a surprise. They are a very dangerous opponent."

Bayer Leverkusen have their eyes set on securing a Europa League spot next season. Now they have to score points against Mainz, which should be possible. Still: "Mainz are very aggressive, plays good pressing and attacks. That can be unpleasant for us," said Leverkusen coach Sascha Lewandowski.

Coach Felix Magath at Wolfsburg is fighting for his job. The Wolves have fallen to the one-before-last slot in the table and their pre-season ambitions seem to be light years away. This weekend's match against Freiburg could well make or break it for the coach.

Wolfsburg - Hannover (Photo: Revierfoto)

Coach Felix Magath in Wolfsburg is wondering how to save his neck

Up north, Werder Bremen will play host to Borussia Mönchengladbach. It's been over 35 years since Gladbach managed a victory there. Still, that was a very impressive one: In 1987, Bremen suffered their most dramatic home defeat in history at the hands of Gladbach, who beat them 7-1.

This time, Bremen are cautiously optimistic. Mönchengladbach are going through a difficult phase at the moment: They have not managed to win a single away-game this season and only have one victory under their belt from the last eight matches.

On Sunday, Nuremberg will play Augsburg. Both teams will be keen to score points and gain ground.

Trainer Bruno Labbadia

Bruno Labbadia's verbal attack on journalists and fans has been turned into a rap song

Stuttgart, meanwhile, head up to Hamburg. Again a coach will be in the spotlight there: Following Stuttgart's feeble performance against Leverkusen in their last Bundesliga game, Stuttgart's Bruno Labbadia (who also coached Hamburg two years ago) made the headlines with his emotional outburst. He used remarkably strong language lambasting fans and journalists for what he claimed was unfair criticism of Bundesliga coaches.

Follow our reporters on twitter @DW_sports live coverage of Bundesliga matches on Saturday and Sunday. And don't miss our matchday summaries at www.dw.de/sports