- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

BERLIN (AP) - The Bundesliga returns from the international break with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich aiming to maintain their perfect starts to the season. Dortmund, which leads on goal difference after three games, visits Hannover on Saturday, while Bayern hosts Augsburg for a Bavarian derby.

Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin and Hamburger SV have been boosted by new signings - a familiar new signing in Bremen’s case - and Borussia Moenchengladbach is desperate for its first points after a terrible start. ‘Gladbach welcomes Hamburg to get the fourth round underway on Friday. Here are some things to know about the weekend’s games:


Dortmund has started the season with eight wins from eight competitive games under new coach Thomas Tuchel. In three Bundesliga games the side has scored 11 goals and conceded one. Injuries are the only concern with Marco Reus (fractured toe), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ankle) and Lukasz Piszczek (groin) all returning early from international duty.

Adnan Januzaj could feature against Hannover if needed. The Belgian winger, who arrived on loan from Manchester United, scored and impressed on his debut in a friendly at St. Pauli on Tuesday.

“We knew beforehand that Adnan wasn’t entirely without talent,” Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said after the side’s 2-1 win.


Arjen Robben is out for four weeks with a groin injury sustained playing for the Netherlands, but Bayern has Thomas Mueller and Douglas Costa ready to step in. Mueller has been in outstanding form with eight goals in five games for Germany and Bayern since the season began, while Costa has scored one and set up four more in three league games since joining Bayern from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Franck Ribery shows no sign of returning from his long-standing ankle problems, opening the door for France under-21 winger Kingsley Coman. The 19-year-old, who arrived from Juventus on a two-season loan deal, could make his Bayern debut against Augsburg on Saturday.


Darmstadt has made a good impression on its return to the Bundesliga with three draws and no defeats, but a visit to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday will be a stern test for the promoted side.

Leverkusen’s only defeat came at Bayern a few days after a tough Europa League qualifier against Lazio and Roger Schmidt’s side can now call upon Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in attack.

Leverkusen snapped up Hernandez on the last day of the transfer window from Manchester United. The Mexico striker, who eventually shone in a loan-spell at Real Madrid last season, brings a touch of glamour to a well-run club that has traditionally valued hard work, sacrifice and endeavor.


Fan favorite Claudio Pizarro returned to Bremen on Monday, when around 600 supporters turned up to welcome the veteran Peru striker back for his third stint at the club.

Pizarro is the highest-scoring foreigner in the league (176 goals in 383 games), and says he wants to play more for Bremen than he did in his second stint at Bayern, but above all, he wants to help the team. He can start at Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Hertha was also given a boost, by the late arrival of Bosnia-Herzegovina striker Vedad Ibisevic from Stuttgart, who will face his old club on Saturday, and Hamburg now has former Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt to count on, following his late transfer from Wolfsburg.

“To start with a win would be a dream start,” Hunt said of Hamburg’s visit to Moenchengladbach on Friday.


Frankfurt fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of Alexander Meier from his knee operation last April. Despite not playing since April 4, Meier finished as the league’s top scorer with 19 goals last season. Now, the “Fussball-Gott” (football-god) is back.

“Alex is definitely there,” Frankfurt coach Armin Veh said of Saturday’s home game against Cologne. “He says he feels better after every session.”

Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes also looks set to return. Hoewedes hasn’t played since May 16 due to a troublesome ankle injury but could make his season debut at Mainz on Sunday.

One familiar face in Mainz will be Schalke’s Johannes Geis, who returns for the first time since his summer transfer.

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