Derbies dominate in Germany
Schalke face bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund on Sunday as the highlight of a weekend of local derbies.
Although most eyes will be focused on the Arena AufSchalke, local pride will also be at stake in Hamburg, where St Pauli host their illustrious neighbours on Saturday, in Kaiserslautern, where Hoffenheim are the visitors, and in Wolfsburg, where Hannover arrive for the battle of Lower Saxony.
Schalke fans haven't had much to smile about recently after a miserable start to the season with three straight defeats in the Bundesliga and a 1-0 loss at Lyon in the Champions League this week.
However, nobody will be thinking about that when they meet arch-rivals Dortmund on Sunday.
"There is no additional pressure from losing the first three games," Schalke manager Felix Magath said on Sat.1 television. "We have got to win every derby anyway, no matter if we have lost three or won three matches before it."
Likewise, Wolfsburg coach Steve McClaren knows that his first derby in German football will be an important game.
"The pressure to win is always high, but certainly this game has a big significance," he said. "We are working to win it."
Wolfsburg and Schalke are propping up the rest of the division after three matches together with Stuttgart, who host Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
Leading the way are Hoffenheim, who head to Kaiserslautern for a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.
The weekend starts with Frankfurt's clash with Freiburg on Friday night, assuming the club can assure the quality of the pitch.
Parts of the Waldstadion turf have been re-laid following a boxing fight at the weekend, but unlike two years ago, when a match was called off following a pop concert by Madonna, the game should take place.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich host Cologne, Werder Bremen entertain Mainz and Bayer Leverkusen welcome Nurnberg to the BayArena.