Bundesliga preview: Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund and co. return
Last Updated: 23/01/14 1:18pm
Bayern Munich: Returning to Bundesliga action
The Bundesliga returns this weekend with the age-old question being asked: can Bayern Munich be caught?
The Bavarians have established a seven-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen and are 12 clear of their nearest rivals in recent years Borussia Dortmund. And Pep Guardiola's men have a game in hand.
They open up 2014 with a trip to third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, who could make matters at least a little more interesting if they can become the first side in well over a year to beat Bayern.
Forty-one failed attempts have been made at beating Bayern since Leverkusen last managed that trick in October 2012.
Gladbach, who dropped only two points on home soil in the first half of the season, will give it a go.
"We've got to gamble," said coach Lucien Favre. "We're going to have to have the courage to give them a run for the money.
"We'll have to move a lot and increase the tempo at the right times."
The Foals will have plenty of fans backing them on Friday night as the Bundesliga otherwise risks becoming monotonous for the second season in a row.
Wolfsburg are trying to do something about that, showing their ambition with the signing of Kevin De Bruyne this winter.
Unbeaten in 10 games, the Wolves host Hannover on Saturday with a place in the top three within their sights. Leverkusen travel to Freiburg while Dortmund host Augsburg.
At the other end of the table, Nurnberg, the only side not to have won a single game so far this season, will be bidding to break that duck against Hoffenheim while bottom-placed Eintracht Braunschweig travel to Werder Bremen, who can be dragged into the thick of the danger with defeat.
Hamburg are also still in the thick of the action at the wrong end of the table and they host Schalke in the final game of the weekend on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Stuttgart host Mainz and Eintracht Frankfurt seek revenge for a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Hertha Berlin on the opening day of the season.