DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The German regular season is finished, however a pair of American players still have work to do in the promotion/relegation playoffs.
1./2. Bundesliga playoff
Eintracht Frankfurt suffered a last-minute 1-0 loss in their season finale on Saturday to Werder Bremen. This all-important game was itself effectively a one-game knockout to determine who would be forced to navigate the two-legged playoff against the third place team in the 2nd Bundesliga.
Had Frankfurt maintained a draw or pulled out a win, they would have remained out of the bottom three and had a guaranteed spot in next season's Bundesliga season. However the loss saw the mighty Werder leapfrog die Adler to safety.
The team must now face off against FC Nürnberg on Thursday and again on Monday evening, with all on the line.
Should he be chosen to play, Frankfurt defender Timothy Chandler will be facing off against the team where he took his first steps as a professional, and put himself on the radar for the US National team.
Overall, he made 95 Bundesliga appearances for the team following his debut in early-2011, before departing after their relegation to the second-tier in 2014.
The playoff as delayed Chandler from joining Jürgen Klinsmann's camp for the upcoming spate of friendly matches and the Copa América, although he was likely one of the odd men out for making the final cut of 23 players.
Chandler has been used as a second-half substitute in Frankfurt's last two games, both times entering the fray for an attacking player as the team attempted - successfully against Dortmund before the Bremen collapse - to hold onto a result.
Overall, the team has performed well defensively over the last four games, allowing an overall total of four goals, which stands in contrast to the six allowed in three prior games where Chandler was in the starting lineup.
This would suggest that his role will likely remain unchanged in the two upcoming games, being utilized as a pair of defensive-minded fresh legs should Frankfurt find themselves with an advantage.
2. Bundesliga/3. Liga playoff
Royal-Dominique Fennell and Würzburg Kickers find themselves in the opposite position in their upcoming two-legged playoff against MSV Duisburg.
Würzburg finished at third place in the 3rd Liga, and will attempt to upend the Zebras over two games - on Friday and Tuesday - in their attempt to reach German's second level for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Since joining the team last summer, Fennell has done a stellar job of transitioning to a more defensive midfield role, while occasionally providing cover when needed in his more traditional placement of central defense. All in all, he started in 37 of the team's 38 games, missing one to suspension, and scoring a career-best four goals along the way.
Würzburg were the second best defensive team in the third division, allowing just 25 goals in 38 games. This will create problems for Duisburg, who scored the second-fewest goals in the 2nd Bundesliga, with just 32 through 34 games.