The seven days between Bundesliga matches just can't pass quick enough for some teams wanting to make up points and places lost in Week Eight.
Bayern will want to dig themselves out of the hole of Schalke's making
They say a week is a long time in politics and the old adage works just as well in the world of soccer. Bayern Munich will be champing at the bit to put the 1-0 home reverse against Schalke in Week Eight right by beating Hansa Rostock away this weekend.
This game cannot come quick enough for Felix Magath's side who will dearly love to regain ground on the top teams with a comprehensive victory on their travels. Add an unlucky Champions League defeat to the mixture of emotions and Rostock may have to brace themselves for a match against a wounded beast.
However, Rostock will be feeling equipped to deal with the threat and may add more misery on a team who looked to have sorted out its problems only to have slipped into self-destruction once again. Rostock's win against Bochum last week moved them further away from the drop-zone and will have instilled an air of confidence ahead of one of the most potentially difficult matches the Bundesliga can offer.
Bochum are looking into the abyss after their home defeat to Rostock and facing championship contenders Wolfsburg may not be the best remedy for their relegation zone woes.
Lingering over the bottom three, Bochum have seen a competent if not spectacular early season campaign disintegrate over the period of the last month and have dropped out of contention for the European places into the danger area. A loss on Saturday will bring the Elevators crashing down into the basement.
Wolves looking to reclaim top spot
Wolfsburg's goalkeeper Claus Reitmaier.
Wolfsburg will be eager to leap-frog Stuttgart at the top of the league and reclaim the summit by beating Bochum at home. The comprehensive defeat by Hanover last Sunday squandered a great chance to reassert the Wolves' position as alpha males and, with other usurpers on their tails, anything but a win will see them become just one of the pack.
Stuttgart showed championship potential against Borussia Dortmund in Week Eight and have the chance to either extend their lead or reclaim it with a victory over SC Freiburg on Sunday. Fluid attacking and solid defending undid the woeful BVB on Saturday and any repeat of the offensive prowess shown by the likes of Alex Hleb and Cacau against Freiburg will result in another win for unbeaten VfB.
Freiburg have been in freefall for a number of weeks now and are currently inhabiting the last of the relegation spots. Fellow strugglers Nuremburg put a 1-0 win over the southerners last week and consigned them to the latest defeat in a growing list of reverses that have seen Freiburg sink from sixth to 16th in the space of two months.
Nuremburg lifted themselves up to 11th win the win over Freiburg but their surge away from the drop zone may be checked this weekend when they visit the champions at the Weser stadium. Bremen will be seething after letting Mainz beat them 2-1 last week and will take heart from a spirited comeback in the Champions League against Anderlecht on Wednesday.
Champions eager to close widening gap
Werder will not want to be in fifth for long and a win could bring them back into serious contention. Eight points off the top is far enough for a team wanting to retain the championship, eleven would be a disaster.
Mainz will have to wait until Sunday to see where their amazing adventure goes next when they travel up the autobahn to Gelsenkirchen to play Schalke 04. Third on merit, Mainz have the chance to go second if results go their way on Saturday and to send the newly promoted Bundesliga virgins into raptures. Beating the champions last week will have them believing that anything is possible.
Schalke 04, however, will be returning to Bundesliga action after their first UEFA Cup Group A clash on Thursday in Switzerland against Basle a week after beating Bayern Munich on their own turf. An indifferent start to the season now sees the Royal Blues up in sixth with a run of more competent results in their favor.
BVB eye drop-zone with concern
Toothless Dortmund lacked any bite against Stuttgart.
Schalke's bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund will look at sixth place as heaven on earth after being consigned to 13th with the 2-0 loss in the Gottlieb Daimler stadium on Saturday. More worrying will be the nature of their defeat to Stuttgart. Dortmund showed little desire to get back into the match at 1-0 and were overwhelmed at 2-0.
The visit of Hamburg may prove to be a nadir in their campaign. A defeat against an HSV team in turmoil could mean BVB head further down the league, adding performance worries to the club's financial woes.
Hamburg, who parted company with Klaus Toppmöller after losing 2-0 to Arminia Bielefeld and sinking to the bottom of the league, are seemingly doomed to the overpowering force of relegation. After a few brave attempts to drag themselves away from the drop zone,
Hamburg, now under the control of former Germany international Thomas Doll, have been dragged back into the dogfight at the base of the league. Although it is only Week Nine, time is running out for HSV to get themselves together enough to avoid spending the whole campaign fighting the vacuum at the bottom.
Leverkusen aim to keep momentum
Arminia Bielefeld take the confidence gained from their victory against Hamburg and the relative safety of 10th place to the capital to visit a resurgent Hertha Berlin. Berlin overpowered Leverkusen in a 3-1 victory which wiped out a campaign start full of low scoring draws and dour performances in one swipe. Now up to seventh after flirting with the basement, Berlin seem to be back to the mid-table form of old.
Leverkusen, fresh from overturning AS Roma in the Champions League, will be an awesome challenge for Kaiserslautern if they continue this latest surge of confidence.
After slipping up in recent weeks, Bayer will hope that their devastating form of the early exchanges has returned for good. Brazilian flair, East European unpredictability and German solidity should combine to great effect once more to see off Kaiserslautern, who lost 2-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach last week.
Mönchengladbach must build on win
Gladbach, possibly minus Oliver Neuville after his 'Hand of God' goal earned him a ban, continue their uneven campaign at Hanover on Saturday. After impressive early form, the promise of a decent season has turned into the ignominy of 12th place.
However, a win last week will help to restore the confidence of the first few weeks and may lead to a resurgent push towards the winter break. Hanover have put in solid performances of late to build a safe eighth place for themselves and will not be a pushover come 3.30 p.m.