Bayern chase leading pack
Bayern Munich will be aiming to reduce a 17-point deficit on league leaders Borussia Dortmund and remain in with a chance of defending their Bundesliga title with victory over St Pauli this weekend.
The Bavarians breezed into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a 3-0 win over Basel in midweek in the first of four matches their coach Louis van Gaal said his side "must win".
The next two in the Bundesliga are even more important as they host St Pauli then travel to Stuttgart before playing Stuttgart again in the third round of the DFB-Pokal, and Van Gaal is sticking by his demand of three more wins in 2010.
"We have got to win in the Bundesliga so that we can put the pressure on teams like Hannover, Leverkusen and Mainz," he said. "We are still in three competitions and that is a good performance which is not being praised highly enough."
However, it is an achievement which pales into insignificance when compared to what Borussia Dortmund have done so far this season. The Westphalians have lost only once and won 13 of their 15 matches so far to stand in a stronger position than any other club in history after 15 games of a season.
They host Werder Bremen on Saturday evening already safe in the knowledge that they will be topping the league table going into 2011. That is now mathematically certain, but until it is mathematically certain that his side will be the 2010/11 Bundesliga champions, Klopp does not even want to entertain the idea.
"I can read the league table and all it says is that we have done really well so far," he said after last weekend's 2-0 win at Nurnberg broke yet another league record as it was his side's eighth away win in a row.
Mainz slipped to ten points behind after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend and they could lose second place in the table to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday if Jupp Heynckes' side get the better of Hamburg in northern Germany.
Mainz are the last team in action this weekend when they entertain a resurgent Schalke, who beat Bayern 2-0 last weekend and finished top of their Champions League group thanks to a 2-1 win at Benfica in midweek.
Elsewhere, the pressure is on Stuttgart's coach Jens Keller as he takes his strugglers to Hannover tomorrow night and Cologne are also in serious danger as they prepare to welcome Eintracht Frankfurt to the Mungersdorfer Stadion on Saturday.
Bottom-placed Borussia Monchengladbach head to Freiburg on Sunday while Kaiserslautern and Wolfsburg jostle for some much-needed points on Saturday with, finally, Hoffenheim hosting Nurnberg.