FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The Bundesliga season resumes after the international break with undefeated front-runner Bayern Munich hosting struggling Mainz and Borussia Dortmund at home to Hannover. Here are five things to know ahead of the weekend.
RIBERY CHASING RECORD
Bayern Munich is undefeated in the last 38 matches Franck Ribery was in the lineup. If Ribery plays against Mainz and Bayern remains undefeated, the France winger will set a new Bundesliga record. Holger Hieronymus also remained undefeated in 38 straight games for Hamburger SV between September 1981 and January 1983. With or without Ribery, Bayern is undefeated in 33 straight games and is chasing Hamburg's 36-match run without a loss. Mainz has only one point from the last five matches and leading scorer Nicolai Mueller (six goals) twisted his ankle in training and could be doubtful.
Borussia Dortmund went down 2-0 at its namesake from Moenchengladbach before the break and the squad has so many injured players that it is anybody's guess which 11 players coach Juergen Klopp will use on Saturday. The list of injured includes Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender, Marco Reus, Nuri Sahin and Jonas Hofmann, in addition to long-term absentees Ilkay Gundogan, Sebastian Kehl and Lukasz Piszczek. Hannover has won only one of its last 10 matches against Dortmund and its last victory in Dortmund was more than five years ago.
FRANKFURT AND NEW COACHES
For the third time this season, Eintracht Frankfurt will be the first opposition for a club that has a new coach. Nuremberg travels to Frankfurt with interim coach Roger Prinzen still in charge as the club has not been able to find a successor for Michael Wiesinger, who was sacked before the break. Stuttgart and Hamburg also had new coaches making their debuts against Eintracht this season and both games were draws. Eintracht has yet to win at home this season and has only one win against Nuremberg in the last five home games. The return from injury of top marksman Alexander Meier could be Eintracht's trump card.
GOALS FOR AND AGAINST IN HOFFENHEIM
Hoffenheim has the second-best attack in the Bundesliga — and the worst defense. It has scored 20, second only to Dortmund's 21, but has also conceded 20, the worst record in the league.
Hoffenheim's defense is likely to come under more pressure Friday against third-place Bayer Leverkusen, but Leverkusen will also have to be on the lookout for Anthony Modeste. Hoffenheim's French striker is one of five players topping the scoring chart with six goals apiece. No other French player, not even Ribery, had such a successful start with a German club.
Modeste says he is enjoying the attacking style of Hoffenheim but knows where the problem is: "We all have to defend better and concede fewer goals," Modeste told Kicker magazine.
That must go into practice on Friday, since Leverkusen has six-goal man Sidney Sam alongside Stefan Kiessling, who has five so far this season.
SCHALKE ALSO HAS INJURY PROBLEMS
Dortmund is not the only team battling injuries. Schalke's topsy-turvy season has been made worse by frequent injuries to top players. Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has been out for eight weeks, renewed the right-knee injury this week and is not expected to play again this year. Schalke was hoping to finally challenge for the title this season but is already nine points behind Bayern and eight points behind Dortmund and Leverkusen.
Schalke has more injury concerns as it travels to promoted Braunschweig, which has been bolstered by its first win, over Wolfsburg. Kevin-Prince Boateng is nursing a knee injury, Jefferson Farfan has a torn muscle and Schalke's attack could come down to Adam Szalai, who is recovering from a cold. The club may even bring back 35-year-old former Germany striker Gerald Asamoah, who has been playing for reserves.