MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, March 28, 2014
John Anthony Brooks should make his third start in one week, while Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim have a tough matchup with record-breaking Bayern Munich this weekend.
FC Schalke 04 - Hertha BSC
After struggling to find the field for much of the Rückrunde, John Anthony Brooks could make his third start in a week when Hertha BSC travels to Schalke on Friday.
Six matches ago, Hertha seemed to be in the running for a European spot, hovering around sixth place.
The Old Lady has lost its last three matches and is winless in its last five matches, and during that span, Hertha has dropped into ninth place, six points below Mönchengladbach in sixth.
Schalke, meanwhile, has been on fire in the Bundesliga as of late. The Royal Blues are unbeaten in their last four league matches, with the last one a midweek scoreless draw at arch-rival Dortmund in which goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann saved a point for them.
Christoph Janker and Fabian Lustenberger are out for Berlin with shin problems and a torn leg muscle.
Schalke has a laundry list on injuries, starting with Dennis Aogo, Christian Fuchs, Marco Höger and Jefferson Farfan, who are out with various knee injuries. Felipe Santana has a torn thigh muscle and is out, captain Benedikt Höwdes and Atsuto Uchida will miss with similar injuries, Kyriakos Papadopoulos has a torn abductor muscle, Jan Kirchhoff will miss because of an ankle injury, Christian Clemens has a shin injury and Kevin-Prince Boateng is out because of yellow card accumulation.
Bayern Munich - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim will hope for a miracle or to catch champion Bayern Munich hungover from the title celebrations when they meet up on Saturday.
Hoffenheim is sitting in much more comfortable spot than it was last season at this time when it was in the thick of the relegation battle.
This year, Hoffenheim finds itself 11 points and six places above the relegation zone, and the team is riding a two-match winning streak to start this "Englische Woche."
Although Hoffenheim heads into the match on a mini-roll, Bayern makes that run look like nothing. The Bavarians clinched the Bundesliga title in the midweek after just 27 matches, the earliest any team has ever sealed the league championship, and they haven't lost a single league match all season long.
In fact, in the last 10 matches across all competitions, the only time Munich didn't record a win was the second leg of its Champions League series with Arsenal - a 1-1 tie.
Outside of Munich's Holger Badstuber, who recovering from a torn ACL, neither team is reporting any significant injuries.
Fortuna Düsseldorf - FC Ingolstadt 04
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt square off with floundering Düsseldorf on Friday in 2.Bundesliga action.
Morales and Ingolstadt picked up a pretty big win on Tuesday over Bochum that allowed die Schanzer to give themselves an eight-point cushion above the relegation zone. They also scored three goals in that match, which was more than what the team accumulated the previous four matches combined.
Düsseldorf, meanwhile, is in the middle of a freefall that mirrored the one the team had last season en route to relegation into the German second division.
Die Fortunen are on a four-match winless streak, and they now sit in 14th place. With seven matches remaining and seven points above the drop zone, Düsseldorf should be safe, but a collapse is not out of the question.
Moritz Hartmann is unavailable For Ingolstadt because of a knee injury, while Düsseldorf will be without Dustin Bomheuer because of a shoulde rinjury, Martin Latka and Andreas Lambertz because of thigh injuries and Axel Bellinghausen because of a knee injury.
Tim Chandler will miss Nürnberg's match on Saturday at Freiburg for a big match in the relegation battle.
Andrew Wooten should be on the bench for FSV Frankfurt when die Bornheimer host promotion-chasing Paderborn on Sunday in 2.Bundesliga action.
Bobby Wood should dress for 1860 Munich on Sunday against first-place Cologne.
Matt Taylor should make the 18 for Preußen Münster at Borussia Dortmund II on Saturday.
Royal-Dominique Fennell should return to the 18 for the Stuttgarter Kickers when they head to Rostock on Saturday. The German-American missed the team's last match because of yellow card accumulation.