PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
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MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, May 9, 2014
Fabian Johnson plays his last match for Hoffenheim on the final weekend of German soccer action.

TSG Hoffenheim - Eintracht Braunschweig

Fabian Johnson suits up in a Hoffenheim uniform for the last on Saturday when Hoffenheim plays host to Braunschweig on Saturday.

Johnson should start at right back, while fellow American Joe Gyau should make the 18 for coach Markus Gisdol.

After struggling to find playing time in Wolfsburg, Johnson joined Hoffenheim before the start of the 2011-2012 season - a move that proved to be a good one. The German-American utility player became a regular starter over that three-year span in Sinsheim, making 86 appearances for the squad. On Saturday, he should make his 87th appearance on Saturday.

While this could be an emotional day for Johnson, it will be just as big for Braunschweig - for other reasons. Despite sitting in last place, Braunschweig still has a chance to qualify for the relegation-playoff spot, but the Lions need multiple results to go their way, including a win, a loss by Hamburg and a loss or tie by Nuremberg.

Hoffenheim will be without Koen Casteels because of a broken leg, Anthony Modeste because of a red-card suspension and Sven Schipplock because of thigh problems. Omar Elabdellaoui will miss the match with stomach muscle issues.

Hertha BSC - Borussia Dortmund

John Anthony Brooks and Hertha BSC will look to end their season on the right note at home against Dortmund.

Brooks should make his 14th start of the season, his first in Bundesliga.

Berlin has enjoyed a pretty successful return to Germany's top tier and has secured safety and will play in the Bundesliga for consecutive years for the first time since the 2009-2010 season, which began the yo-yoing back and forth between the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga. The Berliners have struggling in the second half of the season, however, having won their first home match in 2014 just two weeks ago.

Just like Hertha, Dortmund doesn't have much to play for in the match, as the Schwarzgelben clinched second place in the league a few weeks back. Dortmund will look to build off the match as the team will return one week later to the Olympiastadion in the DFB Pokal final.

Berlin will be without Tolga Cigerci, Fabian Lustenberger and Ronny because of a foot contusion, a hip flexor injury and an ankle injury. Dortmund will not have Jacob Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender and Ilkay Gündogan because of a knee injury, a back injury and a shin injury.

FC Ingolstadt 04 - Energie Cottbus

Alfredo Morales returns to Ingolstadt's starting lineup in die Schanzer's season finale against Cottbus on Sunday.

Morales missed last weekend's match because of yellow-card accumulation, but he's set to return to his usual spot in defensive midfield.

Ingolstadt struggled in the early part of the season, but the team managed to turn things around and secured safety easily. Die Schanzer are ending the season on a high note, having lost just two of their last 10 matches.

Cottbus, meanwhile, hasn't been so fortunate. The team has gone winless in its past seven matches, a run of matches that has seen Cottbus earn demotion into the 3.Liga.

Ingolstadt will not have Leon Jessen, Christian Eigler, Ralph Gunesch and Marvin Matip available because of knee injuries, an ankle injury and a broken shoulder. Stiven Rivic is out for Cottbus with yellow-card accumulation.

Stuttgarter Kickers - RasenBallsport Leipzig

Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers will look to cap off their best-ever season in the 3.Liga when they host Leipzig on Saturday.

Barring injury, Fennell should start at center back for the Kickers.

The Kickers were last in the Bundesliga in the 1991-1992 season, and since then, they've bounced between the second and third tiers of German soccer until the creation of the 3.Liga for 2008-2009, which then dropped the Kickers to the German fourth tier. Since that league, the team finished no higher than 17th place, a placement this year's team are beating by 10 spots heading into the final match.

RasenBallsport Leipzig is a rather new team created by Red Bull that came into existence, and after starting in the Oberliga (the fifth division in Germany) during the 2009-2010 season, the team has earned promotion into the 2.Bundesliga. Leipzig is tied with Heidenheim in first place in the 3.Liga, though, and therefore will probably play for that crown.

The Kickers will be without Markus Krauss, Fabian Gerster, Mahir Savranlioglu and Marcos Alvarez as they recover from various injuries, while Vincenzo Marchese is suspended because of a red card. Henrik Ernst and Gerrit Müller are out for Leipzig with torn cruciate ligaments.

Notes

Having received his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend, Tim Chandler is suspended for Nuremberg's big match to avoid relegation on Saturday at Schalke.

Andrew Wooten will likely miss FSV Frankfurt's season finale against Cologne on Sunday with a knee injury.

Bobby Wood will be a candidate to feature for 1860 Munich in die Löwen's final match at Union Berlin on Sunday.

Matt Taylor should be on the bench for Preußen Münster at Duisburg on Saturday.
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