BERLIN: Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich and last season's runner-up Werder Bremen will resume their league rivalry this weekend as the clubs return to domestic action after a week of mixed fortunes in Europe.
Bayern, which celebrated a 1-0 away win over Romania's Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Wednesday, is behind Hamburg SV but can climb above Martin Jol's side for at least 24 hours if it beats Werder at home on Saturday.
Werder will be looking to recover from the disappointment of its opening 0-0 home draw against Champions League newcomer Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus and make up for a similarly poor start in the league.
Thomas Schaaf's side took just two points from its opening three Bundesliga matches before finally registering its first win with last Saturday's 3-0 home win over Energie Cottbus.
After strongly criticizing the team's performance against Famagusta, Werder's sporting director Klaus Allofs said he expected a marked improvement in Munich.
"We have to put the disappointments behind us, change things and move on," Allofs told the club website on Wednesday.
"None of the players need to be told about the importance of a match against Bayern. They will all be motivated. Playing in the Allianz Arena is the best opportunity to put things back in order."
The reunion of Bayern striker Miroslav Klose and midfielder Tim Borowski with their former Werder teammates should add further spice to the meeting.
At the other end of the pitch, on-loan Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro will be seeking to get one over on his old Munich colleagues.
After throwing away a three-goal lead - and top spot in the league - at local rival Borussia Dortmund last weekend, third placed Schalke 04 should fancy its chances at home to winless Eintracht Frankfurt in another of Saturday's matches.
In the pick of Sunday's games Jol's Hamburg attempts to build on its strong start against a Wolfsburg team unbeaten in a nine-game sequence spanning the end of the old season and the start of the new.
Wolfsburg trainer Felix Magath is also unlikely to want for motivation as he pits himself against the club where he spent his Bundesliga career as a player.
Source: China Daily/Agencies