Bayern Munich have swept away all before them in the Bundesliga this term, but their bogey team Borussia Dortmund lie in wait this weekend, writes Kevin Hatchard.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund, Sat 17:30, Live on Betfair Live Video
Match Odds: Bayern 1.84/5, Dortmund 4.77/2, the draw 4.1n/a
It's been a record-breaking start to the campaign for Bayern Munich, and the Opta stats underline just how well Jupp Heynckes' men are playing. They have collected a record 37 points from the first 14 games of the season, and they are the earliest team to establish themselves as "autumn champions" (in other words they'll be top at the winter break). Their haul of 40 goals in 14 games is the best for 27 years, and no team has had a better goal difference (+35) at this stage than Bayern do now.
Despite all of this success and an 11-point advantage over 3rd-placed Borussia Dortmund, there is a tinge of fear at the Allianz Arena. When this fixture took place last November, Bayern had a five-point lead at the top of the table. BVB won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mario Gotze, and went on to retain their title as Bayern crumbled in the second half of the season. Heynckes has been at pains to stress that nothing has been won yet.
Both teams played within themselves in midweek as they prepared for this match, with differing results. Bayern won 2-0 at Freiburg, helped by an early red card for the hosts' Fallou Diagne. Dortmund went 1-0 up at home to Fortuna Dusseldorf, but then took their foot off the pedal and allowed the visitors to grab a 1-1 draw.
Bayern will be without the injured Arjen Robben, but midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger is back to full fitness, and the Bavarians still have plenty of firepower. Mario Gomez is back after a long lay-off, and Thomas Muller is back to his best, having notched up eight goals and six assists.
Dortmund have struggled for consistency this term, but their recent record against Bayern is excellent. They have won on their last two league visits to the Allianz Arena, although they were beaten 2-1 there in the season-opening German Supercup. Dortmund have beaten Bayern in their last four league meetings, and they battered them 5-2 in last season's German Cup final. BVB have plenty of attacking players on good form such as Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, but the star of the show is Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international has scored nine BL goals and made three more, and he has scored five goals in his last three games against Bayern.
Dortmund really need a win to keep their title hopes alive, and they seem to be Bayern's kryptonite. If you fancy Dortmund based on their recent record against Bayern, backing them in the Draw No Bet market at 3.45n/a may appeal, as the draw provides insurance. Bear in mind that BVB were just moments away from winning big Champions League games at Manchester City and Real Madrid before conceding late equalisers.
The market expects goals, but I think this game could be really tight. Bayern and Dortmund have the league's two best defences, and both of last season's league meetings ended 1-0 to BVB. Under 2.5 Goals looks chunky at 2.447/5. Both of those games were scoreless at half-time, and backing the draw in the Half-Time market appeals again at 2.427/5.
Recommended Bets: Back Under 2.5 Goals at 2.447/5
Greuther Furth vs Stuttgart, Sat 14:30 BST
Greuther Furth remain in the dropzone, with just one win in 14 matches. Mike Buskens' battlers
continue to struggle at home - they are yet to win in front of their own fans and they have suffered five defeats in seven games. To make matters worse, Greuther have scored just three goals at home all season.
Stuttgart were soundly beaten 3-0 by Freiburg in their last away game, but it's worth considering that Bruno Labbadia's men were running on empty after a Europa League trip to Steaua Bucharest. VfB bounced back in midweek with a 2-1 home success against Augsburg.
Stuttgart have won three of their last five Bundesliga away games, and that sequence included a goalless draw at Borussia Dortmund. I think they are more than capable of beating a limited Greuther side who have the division's worst home record.
Recommended Bet: Back Stuttgart to win at 2.466/4
Bayer Leverkusen vs Nurnberg, Sat 14:30 BST
Match Odds: Bayer 1.528/15, Nurnberg 7.26/1, the draw 4.47/2
Bayer are up to second after a stunning run of form which has seen them win four of their last five Bundesliga games, a sequence which has included victories against Bayern Munich and Schalke. On Wednesday they demolished Werder Bremen 4-1 at the Weserstadion - that was only Werder's second home defeat of the campaign.
Nurnberg are on a high after a 4-2 home win against Hoffenheim which was inspired by Japanese international midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake, who scored twice. Despite that boost, Dieter Hecking's men have taken just one point from their last five away games, and I can't see them resisting an attack that is averaging nearly two goals per game.
Recommended Bet: Back Bayer -1.0 & -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.26/5