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Dortmund, Schalke hunt Bayern after Euro triumphs
After the highs of their impressive midweek Champions League triumphs, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke return to domestic action trying to close the gap behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
Bayern hold a five-point lead at the top of the German league and host Bayer Leverkusen at Munich's Allianz Arena on Sunday, while Schalke lag seven points behind the leaders, and fourth-placed Dortmund are 12 points adrift.
Bayern earned a 1-0 Champions League win at Lille on Tuesday to force a three-way tie in Group F with Valencia, BATE and Bayern all on six points.
But the Bavarians have made an impressive start to their domestic campaign and are chasing their ninth straight Bundesliga win since the start of the season having set a new record of eight at Duesseldorf last Saturday.
German champions Dortmund are at Freiburg on Saturday fresh from their historic win over Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Borussia bounced back from their 2-1 home defeat to neighbours Schalke last weekend as Germany defender Marcel Schmelzer hit a 64th-minute winner for the hosts who knocked Real from top spot in Group D of the Champions League.
Dortmund are likely to be without defender Sven Bender, who is carrying a calf injury after Borussia claimed their first win over Real in European competition.
"It looks like he won't be playing," said coach Jurgen Klopp, while midfielder Mario Goetze is also facing a race to shake off a calf strain.
Schalke are at home to 15th-placed Nuremberg on Saturday still in the glow of their 2-0 win at Arsenal.
"After winning the Ruhr derby and winning at Arsenal, it is a pleasure to be part of this team," said midfielder and Germany Under-21 captain Lewis Holtby.
Second-placed Frankfurt continue to be the Bundesliga's dark horses with six wins in their eight games and on Sunday they are at resurgent Stuttgart, who enjoyed a 1-0 win at Hamburg last weekend.
At the other end of the table, VfL Wolfsburg take on Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday with reserve team coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner in charge as caretaker boss after the club parted company with former boss Felix Magath on Thursday.
Wolfsburg confirmed Magath, 59, who was both coach and manager, resigned after 586 days in charge with the team having picked up just five points with one victory in eight games, their worst start to a German league season.
"The focus now lies on the forthcoming games in which we need to catch up to midtable in the Bundesliga as quickly as possible," said Wolfsburg's chairman Francisco Garcia Sanz, who insisted Magath had not been sacked.
Having coached Wolves to the Bundesliga title in May 2009, Magath left soon after to work with Schalke 04, but he was dismissed by the Royal Blues in March 2011.
He returned to Wolves less than 24 hours later to replace former England manager Steve McClaren, but has failed to revive the club's fortunes and has been strongly criticised for making some poor purchases.
In the only match played on Friday, visitors Hamburg defeated Augsburg, 2-0.
Schalke 04 v Nuremberg, Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund, Mainz 05 v Hoffenheim, Greuther Fuerth v Werder Bremen, Fortuna Duesseldorf v VfL Wolfsburg
VfB Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen, Hanover 96 v Borussia M'gladbach
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