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Bayern Munich travels to Cologne, Borussia Dortmund in Ruhr derby at Schalke

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FRANKFURT, Germany — Bayern Munich has restored customary order in the Bundesliga by going to the top of the standings for the first time this season. The defending champion now intends to stay there and increase the gap to Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, the two clubs considered to be Bayern's biggest challengers for the title.

Bayern travels to promoted Cologne, while Dortmund visits Schalke in the often ill-tempered Ruhr derby. Leverkusen is also on the road, traveling to winless Freiburg.

Here are some things to know about the Bundesliga weekend:


ON TOP

It took Bayern five matches to climb to the top of the standings and it came against the previous surprise leader, promoted Paderborn, which was dispatched 4-0. Now Bayern can look for the first win on the road at another promoted team, Cologne, which suffered its first loss in Hannover in the midweek round.

Arjen Robben returned to the starting 11 and played a role in two goals. "We wanted to make a statement and to put Dortmund and Leverkusen under pressure," the winger said of Bayern's strong performance.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the goal was to grab the league lead "and we achieved it."

Cologne has had a solid start but lost 1-0 in a close match in Hannover, which is now third.


DORTMUND'S RALLY

Borussia Dortmund fought back from the brink of defeat to rescue a 2-2 draw against Stuttgart. Late goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ciro Immobile earned the draw. Dortmund is now four points behind Bayern and three behind Leverkusen. Juergen Klopp's team cannot afford to fall behind even more, but it is struggling to overcome a string of injuries to key players.

"We don't have many options," Klopp said. Among the missing are Henrik Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus.

PHOTO: Dortmund's Ciro Immobile from Italy, left, scores  during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between BvB Borussia Dortmund  and VfB Stuttgart in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Dortmund's Ciro Immobile from Italy, left, scores during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between BvB Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Dortmund needs to shore up its defense, which already has conceded nine goals. The return of Mats Hummels will help.

Schalke won some breathing space for under-fire coach Jens Keller by winning 3-0 at winless Werder Bremen but losing at home to the bitter rival would be a major blow.


A GOAL, GIVE US A GOAL

Hamburger SV fans had been hoping for a revival under new coach Joe Zinnbauer, who got a promising start in a 0-0 draw with Bayern. But the hopes did not last long as Hamburg went down 1-0 at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Not only is Hamburg still winless, it also has not scored a goal yet in five matches. Hamburg revamped its squad in the offseason, but the major investment still has not produced any dividends and the only club never to be relegated from the Bundesliga is bottom of the standings. Hamburg barely avoided relegation last season and it looks like it is heading in the same direction again.


STUTTGART'S WOES

Another former champion going through a major slump is Stuttgart. Another team who fought against relegation last season, Stuttgart brought back coach Armin Veh, who guided the team to the championship in 2007. But the team is still struggling and fired director of sports Fredi Bobic hours before the game in Dortmund. Bobic hired and fired five coaches but Stuttgart has been steadily slipping in the Bundesliga in the past three seasons.

The team had an encouraging performance against Dortmund but still went home with little to show for it and is still without a victory. It next hosts Hannover, which is off to its best start.


HILDEBRAND IS BACK

Former backup Germany goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand is back in the Bundesliga. The jobless Hildebrand was signed Thursday by Eintracht Frankfurt, which lost Kevin Trapp to an ankle injury until the end of the year. Trapp was injured in the 2-2 draw with Mainz.

Hildebrand did not get a new contract with Schalke at the end of the last season. He won the Bundesliga title with Stuttgart in 2007 and then had unremarkable stints with Valencia, Hoffenheim, Sporting Lisbon and Schalke.

The 35-year-old Hildebrand is expected to be backup for Felix Wiedwald until Trapp returns.

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