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By ESPN Staff

Gladbach look to go top

Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund have extra motivation on a weekend of derby matches as they know wins over local rivals Cologne and Schalke respectively could take them to the top of the Bundesliga.

Gladbach host Cologne on Friday night aware that three points would take them above Bayern Munich into first place - where they could be caught by Dortmund, who host Schalke on Saturday.

Bayern are not in action until Sunday when they head to Mainz. Elsewhere, there is a Baden-Wurttemberg derby between Hoffenheim and Freiburg and a northern Germany derby between Hannover and Hamburg.

But all eyes will be on Cologne and Dortmund for two of the most keenly-contested encounters of the season.

"We are not scared of Gladbach,'' said Cologne coach Stale Solbakken. "Of course they are in good form, but anything can happen in a derby and we are the home team.''

Speaking of the derby which will take place in front of 81,000 fans in Dortmund's Westfalenstadion, Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby said: "No doubt, it is the highlight of the year. Everybody is already really looking forward to it and you can see that in training.

"Everybody is talking about Dortmund and for me it is special - it is my first derby and I am really looking forward to it.

"Both sides are high up in the table and a win could take either side to the top, and with over 80,000 watching, any football fan looks forward to this kind of thing.''

The stakes will also be high at the Niedersachsenstadion where Hannover will be looking to keep in touch with the top six by inflicting the first defeat on Hamburg since Thorsten Fink took over.

Meanwhile, fifth-placed Werder Bremen host Stuttgart on Sunday, Bayer Leverkusen travel to the capital to play Hertha Berlin, Augsburg host Wolfsburg and Nurnberg entertain Kaiserslautern.


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