The international break has ended (I spent the last several days in Kansas City watching the US Men's National team. What were you doing?), and the Bundesliga is the first major European league to kick things off with Friday's Hoffenheim and Greuther Fürth match. However, one of Europe's biggest rivalries take place on Saturday when Schalke travel to Borussia Dortmund in the 141st Revierderby.
Friday, October 19
Hoffenheim vs Greuther Fürth - 20:30 CET / 2:30 PM EDT
The weekend starts with Hoffenheim playing host to Greuther Fürth. When we last left Fürth, they were completing one of the most inept starts to a Bundesliga campaign ever. They're bottom of the table, but they're only three points behind Hoffenheim. The hosts were on a good run of form before Bayern Munich put the boot to them before the international break. Fürth is not a very good team.
Prediction: Hoffenheim 2 - 0 Greuther Fürth
Saturday, October 20
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
The first Revierderby of the 2012-13 season takes place this weekend. BVB will definitely be without Jakub Blaszczykowski and Mario Götze due to injuries. Schalke will be at relatively full strength and will be pushing hard for their first win in the league against BVB since February 2010. Both clubs will be hoping to take home all three points to keep up with leaders Bayern Munich. Schalke is currently 7 points behind them, and BVB is 9 points out. Falling even further behind at this point could be devastating with the the form Bayern has shown to start the season. Schalke gets it done over their rivals.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1 - 2 Schalke
Bayer Leverkusen vs Mainz - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Leverkusen are unbeaten in four straight matches and will be looking to push it to five when Mainz visit Saturday. Stefan Kießling has been on fire with four goals already. After a slow start, Mainz has really turned things on including a victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf in matchday 7 that was only their third allowed goal of the season. We're going to get some goals in this one.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 3 - 2 Mainz
Wolfsburg vs Freiburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
This match won't be for the faint of heart and could actually be quite awful to watch. Felix Magath needs to get this Wolfsburg side playing better and soon.
Prediction: Wolfsburg 1 - 1 Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Hannover 96 - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Frankfurt fell from the ranks (Okay, it was just them and Bayern.) of the unbeaten two weeks ago with a poor showing in a 0-2 loss away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. They will up against it again this week with Hannover 96 coming to the Commerzbank Arena. Szabolcs Huszti has been one of the players of the season so far, and the Hungarian continues to spectacularly perform.While both sides have been wheeling and dealing goals this season, this one will be a tighter affair.
Prediction: Eintracht Frankfurt 1 - 2 Hannover 96
Fortuna Düsseldorf vs Bayern Munich - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
The Bayern Munich attack will be by far the best one that Fortuna Düsseldorf has faced all season. After not conceding in the first five matches and then conceding three goals in the next two matches, it will be interesting to see how the Düsseldorf defense plays. Against Schalke they played two defensive midfielders right on top of the back four as per usual, and it bit them in the end. If they try this same tactic against Bayern, it could get ugly.
Prediction: Fortuna Düsseldorf 0 - 4 Bayern Munich
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Mönchengladbach - 18:30 CET / 12:30 PM EDT
This is definitely sleeper for match of the weekend. Both Lucien Favre and Thomas Schaaf need wins to keep things moving in a positive direction for their club. Another loss could have the fans questioning their manager's place at the club.
Prediction: Werder Bremen 1 - 2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Sunday, October 21
Nürnberg vs Augsburg - 15:30 CET / 9:30 AM EDT
Nürnberg haven't gained a single point in five weeks after a bright start, and they'll be looking to put things right when Augsburg come to town. Die Fuggerstädter have been struggling so far this season, but they shocked everyone with a 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen in matchday 7. This would be the match for Nürnberg to get back on track.
Prediction: Nürnberg 2 - 1 Augsburg
Hamburg vs Stuttgart - 17:30 CET / 11:30 AM EDT
Hamburg lost their first three matches to start the season, and things were looking bleak for Thorsten Fink. A visit from Borussia Dortmund loomed, but Hamburg pulled out an improbable win. They haven't lost since including a draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach and a win against Hannover. Things haven't gone as well for Stuttgart, and they sit on only 6 points in 16th place. Bruno Labbadia's seat is starting to get warmer, and he went on a mini-rant after a draw with Bayer Leverkusen. Many thought Stuttgart could challenge for a Champions League place this season, but they won't come close unless things change quickly.
Prediction: Hamburg 2 - 2 Stuttgart