Bayern faces Augsburg again; Dortmund, Schalke clash

Bayern Munich takes on Augsburg for the second time in the space of four days while Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke will battle it out in the Ruhr derby.

Arturo Vidal, David Alaba and Thiago celebrate a goal against Augsburg.   -  AP

Bayern Munich faces familiar opposition in neighbour Augsburg on Saturday as the Bundesliga leader takes on its Bavarian rival for the second time in four days.

Bayern beat Augsburg 3-1 on Wednesday in the second round of the German Cup as US international Julian Green - deputising for striker Robert Lewandowski - David Alaba and Philipp Lahm all scored. Carlo Ancelotti rested a host of stars including Arturo Vidal, Arjen Robben, Xabi Alonso and Lewandowski ahead of this weekend's league game at Augsburg's WWK-Arena stadium.

The Munich giant needs a win in its warm-up for next Tuesday's Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven to ensure it remains clear at the summit.

The top clash of the weekend is Saturday's Ruhr Valley derby between Borussia Dortmund and arch-rival Schalke 04. Dortmund is unbeaten in its last three league meetings against Schalke but is struggling with a lengthy injury list and is winless in its last three Bundesliga games.

Andre Schuerrle, Raphael Guerrerio, Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender, Erik Durm, Neven Subotic and Marco Reus are all either out injured or returning from injury.

Dortmund hopes to have striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back from a calf knock after he missed Wednesday's nervy German Cup penalty shootout win over Union Berlin.

Schalke made a disastrous start to the season when it lost its first five games, but Markus Weinzierl's side has steadied the ship by picking up seven points in the three matches since.

Midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, has been a revelation during the revival with three goals in his last two games. Schalke is eager to make his move permanent, but director of sport Christian Heidel says Spurs want at least 20 million euros ($21.8 million) for the Algeria international.

"It was a double-digit sum and there was a two at the front," Heidel said.

Bentaleb is relishing his first Ruhr derby and likened it to a match against Spurs' north London rival Arsenal. "I don't know if you can compare it to a London derby, but I'm looking forward to it," said the 21-year-old.

Unbeaten RB Leipzig, which trails Bayern by just two points, can take a step closer to a record when it faces Darmstadt away. Under Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuettl, Leipzig has won five of its first eight games with three draws. It is just two short of the record of 10 matches unbeaten, set by MSV Duisburg in 1993/94, for a side at the start of its first season in Germany's top flight.

Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen meet on Saturday with both coaches in desperate need of a victory. Leverkusen's Roger Schmidt serves the last of his two-match touchline ban for verbally abusing Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann in last Saturday's 3-0 defeat.

Leverkusen, who goes to Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday, is winless in its last four games and suffered a shock German Cup defeat to third division Sportfreunde Lotte in midweek.

Wolfsburg is without a win in seven league games and caretaker coach Valerien Ismael, who lost his first game 3-1 at struggler Darmstadt, has been tasked with reversing the team's fortunes.

Bottom club Hamburg, which is still winless after its first eight league games, is at Cologne on Sunday. Unbeaten Hoffenheim hosts fellow high-flyer Hertha Berlin in south-west Germany, with Pal Dardai's side suffering its lone defeat to Bayern and starting to look like a realistic contender for a Champions League place next season.

Fixtures: Mainz v Ingolstadt, VfL Wolfsburg v Bayer Leverkusen, Augsburg v Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen v Freiburg, Darmstadt v RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund v Schalke 04, Hoffenheim v Hertha Berlin, Cologne v Hamburg.

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