Bayern Munich are the run away leaders of the Bundesliga and look set to take the title from Borussia Dortmund, having lost only twice and conceded only 15 goals.
Bayern owe much to inspirational midfielder Mehmet Scholl who seems to have benefited this term from his international football retirement.
Chasing Bayern’s and the teams looking likely to claim Champion’s League spots are Dortmund and a resurgent Stuttgart, the latter benefiting from the good form of youngster Alexander Hleb.
Close behind are Schalke and Hamburg who could push for UEFA Cup places; though Hamburg’s defence could undermine their challenge.
The relegation battle is set to be close with only 4 points separating the bottom seven teams. Surprisingly Bayer Leverkusen, Bundesliga and Champion’s League runners up last season, find themselves fighting for survival and were forced to jettison manager Klaus Toppmoller mid-season, replacing him with Thomas Hoerster.
Also in the mire are Kaiserslauten, Energie Cottbus and Borussia Monchengladbach, all of whom currently reside in the relegation zone.
Time is rapidly running out for the bottom three but with Nurnberg, Hannover 96 and Arminia Bielefeld within touching distance nothing is impossible.
Kaiserslauten, led by Belgian legend Eric Gerets and with players such as Mario Basler and Miroslav Klose, seem the best equipped to beat the drop, but their performances this season have not reflected the quality at Gerets’ disposal.
Bayern have the chance to double their silverware for the season by reaching the final of the German cup in a ‘top versus bottom’ clash with Kaiserslauten, who be looking for inspiration in their campaign to stay in the top flight.