Kobiashvili has sigen from Schalke, another defender Roman Hubnik has joined from FC Moscow and most intriguingly, former Bundesliga top scorer 'Fanis Gekas has joined from Leverkusen. The Greek international was a goal machine a couple of years ago. If Funkel can recapture some of that form... who knows. One thing is certain, they will be more than happy to see the back of the Hinrunde after finishing up with a 5-2 (gerd) mullering at the hands of the ever improving Bayern Munich.

Elsewhere, Christian Gross secured his first Bundesliga win as Stuttgart coach in the derby game against Hoffenheim. 3-1 was the final score despite or perhaps because of the absent Jens Lehmann. Bochum were 2-0 down away at Hannover but that didn't stop the hosts from blowing their lead and losing 3-2. Schalke are sitting in a very pretty second place after beating Mainz 1-0. How long they can maintain their position after the close of the transfer window is open to question since a number of their more established player are said to be leaving in January because of the clubs pressing financial problems.

Finally, the Northern Derby between Hamburg and Werder Bremen is always a tasty affair. But last Sunday's was a particulary flavoursome morsel. Hamburg took the lead early doors through Joris Mathijsen . However, their full back Jerome Boateng paid the price from some naive defending against Bremen's Marko Marin (a gifted attacking player but one who goes to ground too easily