Bundesliga weekend preview
Bayern Munich are on the brink of making history this weekend as they bid to win the Bundesliga title before the end of March.
The defending Bundesliga champions could be crowned champions of Germany for the 24th time with eight games to spare with a win in Mainz this Saturday.
For them to be celebrating on Saturday evening, they would also need Borussia Dortmund and Schalke to fail to win their matches against Hannover and Eintracht Braunschweig respectively, yet it seems only a matter of time before Bayern clinch the title mathematically.
"It would be fantastic if we could seal it there already," said midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who clinched last season's title with a goal at Eintracht Frankfurt.
That saw the Bavarians win the title after 28 matches, on the first weekend in April.
This year, they can have it all wrapped up with two games still to be played in March.
"It doesn't really matter when we win it, what matters is that we keep the tension high," Schweinsteiger added. "We still have to keep our focus and concentration high for another two months."
Indeed, after clinching the title, which could happen in midweek if not this weekend, Bayern will still have plenty else to play for this season.
They face Kaiserslautern in the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal next month while they are also in the last eight of the Champions League. Under Pep Guardiola, they are looking to defend both titles they won under Jupp Heynckes last season.
Their dominance of German football has turned the Bundesliga into a scramble to be the best of the rest, a mini-league currently being led by Dortmund from Schalke, with Bayer Leverkusen three points further back.
They, together with Mainz, Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Augsburg, are contesting the three remaining places in the Champions League on offer to the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen have to wait until Sunday evening before they are in action at home to Hoffenheim, meaning Gladbach can close in on them with a win over Hertha Berlin.
Wolfsburg and Augsburg meet in a battle for a place in Europe next season.
At the foot of the table, Freiburg can move out of the bottom three with a win over Werder Bremen on Friday night, and all eyes will then turn to Stuttgart's game against Hamburg with two giants of the German game both in serious relegation danger with nine games to go.
Finally, Nurnberg and Eintracht Frankfurt meet in another important battle for survival on Sunday.