The Bundesliga is enjoying its winter break at the halfway stage of the season and it appears a foregone conclusion that Bayern Munich will win the title.
Bayern are 11 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg, are unbeaten and have conceded just four goals in 17 games.
But, while there is seemingly little interest in the title race, the second half of the season promises to be an exciting chase for the runners-up spot.
Wolfsburg are currently in the driving seat and are six points clear of third-placed Bayer Leverkusen. The 2009 champions have shown continued improvement since Dieter Hecking became coach in December 2012.
After finishing fifth last season, they are now in contention for a return to the Champions League. The first few weeks following the resumption of the league, though, will seriously test their mettle.
Bayern at home are first up and there are also games against Borussia Monchengladbach and Hoffenheim to deal with in February.
The death of Junior Malanda in a car crash earlier in January will surely have had an impact on the squad, particularly his fellow Belgian – Kevin de Bruyne – who has created the most goals in the league this season.
Leverkusen always seem to be in the Champions League mix and boast the league’s fourth highest scorer so far this season in Karim Bellarabi.
You certainly wouldn’t back against them catching Wolfsburg as they have the experience, but are merely leading a congested chasing pack.
A point behind Leverkusen are Monchengladbach, who lost 2-1 to Augsburg in their final game before Christmas.
The fixture list, though, looks kind to Gladbach when the Bundesliga resumes. In six league games to the end of February, Gladbach will face only one team in the top half of the table – Schalke.
If they can take advantage of a benevolent run of games, Gladbach could find the momentum needed to overhaul Wolfsburg, with Patrick Herrmann not concerned that the club’s form usually dips in the second half of the season.
Also on 27 points are Schalke, who have improved steadily since Roberto Di Matteo took over as coach in October.
Upcoming games against Bayern and Gladbach will be a test for Di Matteo’s side, as will a last-16 tie with Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Taking second place will certainly help club president Clemmens Tonnies’ aim of securing the investment needed to challenge Bayern for the title in the future.
Also on 27 points are the season’s surprise packages Augsburg. It says a lot that, in the Bundesliga betting, Augsburg are the same price as Borussia Dortmund to finish second – 50/1. There are 12 points between the two clubs.
Halil Altintop hopes his side can push on after the winter break, but they probably need to score more goals after netting just 22 in 17 games so far.
Hoffenheim are on 26 points, eight adrift of Wolfsburg and probably look a point or two too far back, especially when you consider the teams above them.
And is anyone brave enough to suggest Dortmund can enjoy an incredible second half of the season and claim second spot?
Dortmund are currently second bottom in the table with just 15 points and are 19 points off Wolfsburg. Wins over Leverkusen and Augsburg in their next two matches could certainly help to spark a revival.
But even if Jurgen Klopp’s side can rediscover the form they have shown over the past few years, it looks too big a gap to make up.