Last week marked the virtual crowning of Bayern Munich as Bundesliga champions, as second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach both failed to beat them at home and lost star midfielder Granit Xhaka to an injury in the same week. The Bavarians won't actually mathematically clinch the title until sometime in late March, but the race for first place is effectively over.
But that doesn't mean this week is without intrigue, because Bayern could still be the team that helps jumpstart Borussia Dortmund's season. Der BVB look like contenders to win the whole thing in the Champions League, but they're inexplicably all the way down in 15th domestically. A win over Bayern in this week's big rivalry match won't get them into the title picture -- they're an astonishing 14 points back -- but it might make them favorites for top four again.
There's another big match in Germany this weekend as well, featuring the aforementioned Fohlen. 'Gladbach can solidify their top four standing with a good result at home against Hoffenheim, who sit in fourth and are off to an impressive undefeated start. The rest of the Champions League contenders -- Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke -- face slightly easier matches.
As a note, this week is the opposite of last week as far as timing goes for people in the western hemisphere. Games will be an hour later than usual on Friday and Saturday, then back to normal time on Sunday, as the Americas change their clocks.
Schalke 04 vs. Augsburg
Friday, 3:30 p.m ET. TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada), BT Sport 2 (U.K.)
An away loss against Bayer Leverkusen last week was understandable, but still a setback. They'll expect better at home against Augsburg, though they can be a bit difficult to break down. Even though they've lost their last three on the road, they've made it tough on their opponents, dropping each of those games by only one goal.
Stuttgart vs. Wolfsburg
Saturday, 10:30 a.m ET. TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada)
Stuttgart have taken up the mantle as the craziest team in the Bundesliga, having scored 10 goals in their last three games. The number of goals they've conceded in those matches? Also 10. Their 5-4 away win against Eintracht Frankfurt was the match of the round last week, and they might help produce the round's best game yet again. Wolfsburg have a potent attack, but a pretty average defense.
Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET. TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Maybe Dortmund are in such horrible form because they were just looking this far ahead? Der BVB have lost an astonishing four matches in a row, with both Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündogan struggling to get back to full speed after injury layoffs. Jürgen Klopp has been tinkering with formations and personnel, but nothing's working for him at the moment.
Meanwhile, it seems like nothing can go wrong for Bayern. Even when they don't play particularly well or lose key players to injury, they get decent results. They're arguably the best side in the world at present, and there are precisely zero reasons to pick BVB to get a result in this game.
Of course, that's why BVB will get a result in this game.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Hoffenheim
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET. TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada)
For at least one week, doing any analysis of 'Gladbach games is pretty pointless. Xhaka is so important to this team that he has no direct replacement -- Lucien Favre's going to put in a different style of midfielder and it's probably going to change how his team plays. That could be a boost to Hoffenheim, who are coming off a win over Paderborn in the league and a huge 5-1 cup victory over FSV Frankfurt on Wednesday.
Köln vs. Freiburg
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET. TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada), ESPN (U.K.)
How this match got a late television slot, no one knows. You can find something more watchable from a different league at this time, we assure you.
Schedule and scores (all times ET, results will be updated as they come in)
Schalke 1-0 Augsburg
Mainz 1-2 Werder Bremen
Hannover 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Stuttgart 0-4 Wolfsburg
Hamburg 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund - Full match report here
Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Hoffenheim
Köln 0-1 Freiburg
Paderborn 3-1 Hertha Berlin