It has been away for over a month, though on Friday the Bundesliga finally returns -- and returns with a bang. The first game back after Christmas sees league leaders Bayern Munich travel to high-flying Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are currently just a couple of places behind the Bavarian pacesetters.
Gladbach may be 11 points in arrears of Bayern, but their outstanding home form gives them reason for optimism heading into this one. Lucien Favre's side haven't lost at home in the Bundesliga yet this season, having only dropped a couple of points to Wolfsburg in the last match before the winter break. They won't make life easy for Pep Guardiola's visitors.
Bayern head into the game without centre-back Holger Badstuber, who could notably be joined on the sidelines by Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martínez and Philipp Lahm. All the doubtfuls are close to full fitness, though this game may come just too soon. Unfortunately for Gladbach, Bayern are Bayern, and they still have a wealth of world class midfield options available.
The hosts will miss their injured centre-backs Tony Jantschke and Roel Brouwers, though fortunately defender Álvaro Domínguez should return from a serious shoulder injury in time to plug the gap.
Borussia Mönchengladbach injuries and suspensions
Out: Tony Jantschke (facial injury), Roel Brouwers (adductor). In doubt: Álvaro Domínguez (shoulder).
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Holger Badstuber (knee). In doubt: Arjen Robben (knee), Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Javi Martínez (ankle), Philipp Lahm (knee), Daniel van Buyten (fitness).
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Marc André ter Stegen; Oscar Wendt, Martin Stranzl, Álvaro Domínguez; Julian Korb; Juan Arango, Granit Xhaka, Christoph Kramer, Patrick Herrmann; Raffael; Max Kruse.
Match Date/Time: Friday, 8:30 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET
Venue: Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
TV: GolTV USA (U.S.), BT Sport 2 (U.K.), Sky Bundesliga (Germany)
Online: BT Sport 2 (U.K.), Sky Go (Germany)