This Saturday, second-placed Bayern Munich play Leverkusen. The match marks a return for Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes to his former club. Elsewhere in the league, Dortmund's coach also takes on his old team.
Speaking at a luxury hotel in the Cologne city center on Thursday, Bayern Munich's coach Jupp Heynckes said that he was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again on Saturday. Heynckes was at the helm at Bayer Leverkusen for two years - his posting ended with a second place finish in 2011 - before he moved in the summer to Bayern Munich, for the third time in his career.
"You have to say that if I hadn't the sort of success that I did with Leverkusen here, then, most probably, I wouldn't be sitting here as the coach of Bayern Munich again," the 66 year old said to members of the press.
Earlier in the day in Leverkusen, current coach Robin Dutt explained to reporters that a win against Bayern would motivate his squad for the last part of the season. "A win against Bayern would do us a power of good, just like our win in the local derby has given us a real boost."
Before Saturday's game against fifth-placed Leverkusen, Heynckes will be hoping some of his biggest names get back to full fitness.
Franck Ribery and Holger Badstuber both sustained injuries during the international friendly between France and Germany on Wednesday and are doubtful for the match.
A return to form
Still, Heynckes thinks his team is well on its way to finding some of the form that gave them such a strong start to the season back in autumn. "There are still 11 rounds to go. We know we have to play strongly now - especially because Dortmund are doing so well."
Following the team's 2-0 win against Schalke last week - a game in which Franck Ribery starred with two goals - Heynckes admitted to having "a long discussion" before the game with his French superstar.
"Of course you have to look out for the needs of your players, that comes with the job," Heynckes said. "But, any player that comes to Bayern Munich needs to know that there is a lot pressure here - my players just need to come to terms with that."
Dortmund versus Mainz
In the late Saturday game, Jürgen Klopp will welcome his old team Mainz to Signal Iduna Park. Klopp spent seven seasons with the small club from south-west Germany and is still held in high esteem there.
Dortmund, who are currently four points clear at the top of the table, will go into the game as strong favorites, but will still be wary of the threat of their former teammate, Mohamed Zidan. The Egyptian international has now scored four times in his last four games for Mainz.
Elsewhere in the league on Saturday, Freiburg host Schalke, Hertha Berlin welcome Werder Bremen, Stuttgart travel to Hamburg, Wolfsburg are in Kaiserslautern and Augsburg travel north to Hanover. On Sunday, Nuremberg play Borussia Mönchengladbach, while Hoffenheim host Cologne.
Author: André Leslie
Editor: Darren Mara
Don't miss the post-match summary of the Bayern Munich versus Bayer Leverkusen match on DW-TV's Bundesliga Kick Off! The program airs on Mondays and Tuesdays.