Here are five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend:
Big names, big records
On Sunday, host Borussia Moenchengladbach will be the next team bidding to hinder Bayern Munich’s march to a fifth straight league title. With 15 Bundesliga points since January, Gladbach has the second-highest tally so far in 2017, just behind Bayern, which has 17.
Bayern’s top names were critical of the team’s first-half performance in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, even though it led 2-0 at the break, underlining the high standards expected. “It was a weak performance,” was how Mats Hummels appraised the first 45 minutes.
But Bayern has netted 28 goals in its last six games and is on course for the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has Germany international defender Jerome Boateng back from a shoulder injury, which could push Javi Martinez up from the back four into midfield.
Eberl's Bayern quandary
The pre-match focus at Borussia Park will be on Gladbach’s director of sport Max Eberl, who has been told by Borussia's bosses that he has until Sunday to commit to the club or confirm rumours he plans to join Bayern.
Bayern has been looking for a new director of sport since Matthias Sammer quit last season on health grounds. The 42-year-old Eberl has a Gladbach contract until 2020, but is a prime candidate after Philipp Lahm announced last month he turned down Bayern’s vacant sports director job.
Dortmund without Dembele
Marco Reus is sidelined by a hamstring injury while a fifth yellow card means playmaker Ousmane Dembele is suspended for third-placed Borussia Dortmund’s home match against Ingolstadt on Friday.
Even missing two stars, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has midfield options behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the league's top scorer with 22.
Teenage U.S. international Christian Pulisic and Germany winger Andre Schuerrle, who both netted in Tuesday's German Cup quarterfinal win, are set to keep their starting places.
Alexander Isak, the 17-year-old Swedish wonderkid dubbed the "new Zlatan Ibrahimovic", made his first-team debut in the 3-0 win at Lotte, but Tuchel says he is not ready for his Bundesliga debut. "We all need some patience, most of all him," said Tuchel.
RB Leipzig in rut
Leipzig started its first Bundesliga season by going on a record 13-game unbeaten run and remains second in the table only to Bayern Munich, but has taken just seven points from its last six games.
“In the mean time, teams have figured out how to stop us," said coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.
"We're suffering from the curse of meeting teams who are now giving their all when they play us."
With three wins from its last four matches, host Bremen has Germany winger Serge Gnabry back from a knee injury, but striker Max Kruse is doubtful with a leg injury.
Leipzig will miss Naby Keita, who is suspended and recovering after collapsing in the dressing room with poor circulation after last Saturday’s shock defeat at home to Wolfsburg.
Kalou question mark
Salomon Kalou is struggling to be fit for Saturday's match at Cologne as Hertha Berlin looks to build on its 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund. The ex-Chelsea striker has a thigh injury, but boosted Berlin on Wednesday by signing a contract extension, reportedly until 2019 with the option of another year.
Kalou has forged a potent partnership alongside top-scorer Vedad Ibisevic, who has also extended until 2019, while Cologne's Anthony Modeste has hit 19 goals.
With just two wins from 12 away games this season, Hertha has a dreadful record on the road and coach Pal Dardai says tactical changes are likely to stop the rot.
Borussia Dortmund v Ingolstadt (1930)
Wolfsburg v Darmstadt, Cologne v Hertha Berlin, Augsburg v Freiburg, Werder Bremen v RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim v Bayer Leverkusen, E. Frankfurt v Hamburg (1730)
Mainz v Schalke, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayern Munich (1630)
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