It's been nearly a quarter of a century since Borussia Mönchengladbach last defeated their Rhine rivals Bayer Leverkusen at Borussia Park. Really. The last time Gladbach won in their home stadium against Leverkusen was all the way back in 1989. That's a long time to go in between victories for a club as historic as Die Fohlen.
Even though Gladbach has lost their first two matches to start the Rückrunde, it's no reason for Sami Hyppiä's side to come into the contest overconfident. Leverkusen haven't been at their best in their last couple of matches either. In fact, the two sides have only combined for one win out of their last eight matches.
However, Friday's kickoff does feature the number two side in the table against number five. A full three points is really big for both teams here. Leverkusen could put a full 10 points between themselves and falling out of a Champions League place if they manage a victory. For Gladbach, the win would put them into fourth place, pending Schalke's result on the weekend.
While Bayern Munich are in Nürnberg contesting a Bavarian Derby, the second biggest match to keep an eye on this weekend takes place at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg. Mainz come to town with their sights set on making a statement against their fellow challenger for a place in Europe next season.
Wolfsburg will be favored at home in the match, but they haven't come out of the blocks in the Rückrunde in stellar form with two losses to start things off. Perhaps finally ridding themselves of Diego (to Atletico Madrid) and fully integrating Kevin De Bruyne into the squad will start this week. We saw what the former Werder Bremen man can do when he finds his groove in the Bundesliga, and it's only a matter of time before he starts pulling the strings for Die Wölfe.
Mainz has started the second half strong with two wins, albeit against lesser competition. Thomas Tuchel continues to do a marvelous job with Mainz and deserves all of the plaudits that he receives. Nicolai Müller returns this week for Mainz and will partner with Shinji Okazaki and Koo Ja-Cheol to bolster their attack.
Things don't get any easier for either club after this match. Wolfsburg see three out of their next four against Hertha , Leverkusen and Bayern. Mainz do not have it much easier with matches against Schalke, Leverkusen, and Hertha.
Friday, February 7
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday, February 8
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Eintracht Braunschweig
Werder Bremen vs Borussia Dortmund
Nürnberg vs Bayern Munich
Freiburg vs Hoffenheim
Wolfsburg vs Mainz
Hamburg vs Hertha Berlin
Sunday, February 9
Stuttgart vs Augsburg
Schalke vs Hannover