MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, September 12, 2014
Coming out of an international break, a couple of German-Americans could make their Bundesliga debuts with their new teams, while Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt will hope to pick up where they left off against Aalen.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - FC Schalke 04
Fabian Johnson could make his first league start with his new team when Mönchengladbach host Schalke on Saturday.
With the usual right back Julian Korb suffering with the flu, Johnson seems to be the guy to plug into the position should Korb be unable to play on Saturday. Johnson has started both Europa League qualification matches, but coach Lucien Favre has used the American just as a substitute through the first two league matches of the season.
Those two matches have seen mixed results for the Fohlen, who have recorded two ties against Stuttgart and Freiburg - two teams expected to struggle this season. Alarming has to be an inability to create goals, as the team has scored just one goal in those two matches.
Schalke, meanwhile, opened the season poorly with losses in the first round of the DFB Pokal and in the league-opening match to Hannover, but the Knappen record a tie with back-to-back defending champion Bayern Munich right before the winter break.
Schalke has a laundry list of injuries, including Felipe Santana and Joel Matip with abductor injuries, Jan Kirchhoff, Jefferson Farfan and Sead Kolasinac with knee injuries and Leon Goretzka with a left thigh muscle injury. Outside of Korb, Mönchengladbach is not reporting any injuries.
Hannover 98 - Hamburger SV
Julian Green could make his Bundesliga debut on Sunday when Hamburg travels to Hannover on Sunday.
On loan from Bayern Munich, the 19-year-old German-American secured a loan to the Dinosaurs, the only club to not ever be relegated from the Bundesliga despite coming close last season. Green is looking for some playing time, and he might get that off the get-go, as Ivo Illicevic is questionable with a muscle injury.
Hannover shocked Schalke in the team's season opener and also recorded a tie on the road to Mainz. Although the team probably won't finish the season so high the standings, the Roten are in seventh place because of this hot start.
Out for Hamburg are Marcell Jansen with a torn abductor muscle and Maximilian Beister following a meniscus operation. Hannover will not have Andre Hoffman, Edgar Prib and Lars Stindl available because of various knee injuries.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - VfR Aalen
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt will attempt to pick off where they left off before the international break when Aalen comes to Audi-Sportpark on Friday.
Morales should start in central midfield for the Schanzer, who sit in second place with eight points and a goal differential of five through four matches.
Ingolstadt has yet to lose a match this season, and after drawing the first two matches, the team picked it up with two impressive wins before the break against promotion-favorite Greuther Fürth and in Sandhausen. Although early in the season, the Schanzer seem to be in the hunt for promotion themselves.
Unlike Ingolstadt, Aalen needed the international break, as they recorded one point in the two league matches prior to it and also needed penalty kicks to beat Regionalliga-team Rehden. Still, Aalen sits in the middle of the standings with five points.
Ingolstadt will be without Ralph Gunesch and Christian Eigler while recovering from knee surgeries, Leon Jessen because of an ankle injury and Almog Cohen because of a shin injury. Robert Lechleiter is out for Aalen with a torn ACL.
FC St. Pauli - TSV 1860 Munich
Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich are still looking for their first win over the season when they had to Hamburg to face St Pauli on Sunday.
Wood will dress for the Löwen, but his starting spot isn't guaranteed, especially with the signing of Rodri from Barcalona B.
Rodri isn't the only new player from Barcelona's second team that the Sechziger picked up over the offseason in an attempt to overhaul an aging core, but the moves haven't panned out so far. After four league matches, the Löwen have just two points and a -4 goal differential.
St. Pauli has fared only a little better than its opponents this early in the season, as the Buccaneers picked up a win over Sandhausen on Aug. 22. Still, a 3-0 loss to Greuther Fürth right before the break probably didn't sit well and will look to take it out on struggling Munich.
Dominik Stahl and Stephan Hain will miss for Munich with knee injuries, while St. Pauli will be without Marcel Halstenberg, Bernd Nehrig, Sebastian Schachten and Lasse Sobiech because of muscular problems, stomach muscle injuries and a broken rib.
MSV Duisburg - Stuttgarter Kickers
Royal-Domnique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers will attempt to defend their top spot in the 3.Liga standings when they play in Duisburg on Saturday.
Fennell should start in central defense for the Kickers.
The Kickers have been on fire to start the season, sitting in first place through eight matches with 16 points and a goal differential of six. They lost just one match, but last weekend, they bounced back with a win over newly promoted Fortuna Köln.
Since the first match of the season, Duisburg hasn't loss this season across all competitions, but the Zebras have had a problem with recording ties. Four of their eight league matches have ended in ties, although the Zebras have posted shutouts in their last two matches - both wins.
Gerrit Müller must sit out another match because of a red card suspension, while Daniel Engelbrecht will continue to miss as he recovers from heart surgery. Duisburg will not have Christopher Schorch, Erik Wille, Steffen Bohl and Pierre De Wit available because of a red card suspension, a thigh injury, a knee injury and rest following groin surgery.
Arminia Bielefeld - Borussia Dortmund II
Joe Gyau and Dortmund II return to action when they head to Bielefeld on Saturday.
Gyau should start in a midfield role for the Schwarzgelben, while fellow American Junior Flores could hope to dress as well.
Dortmund II was one of the few lower-league sides to not play during the international break, during which the team dropped to 14th place. Still, with a match in hand, the Schwarzgelben have a five-point cushion over the relegation zone.
Bielefeld, meanwhile, has kept itself close enough to a chance to promote itself back into the German second division, sitting five points behind the leaders and jut three from a promotion spot. The Arminen are currently riding a three-match unbeaten streak, which includes a win over the Stuttgarter Kickers.
Dortmund will be without Jeremy Dudziak, Steffen Göcke, Oguzhan Kefkir and Nick Weber because of a shoulder injury, a broken hand, an ankle injury and a torn Patella tendon. Manuel Hornig and Jonas Strifler will miss the match with a torn ACL and an ankle injury.
Caleb Stanko is out with an ACL and will not play for Freiburg
John Anthony Brooks will hope to crack Jos Luhukay's starting lineup when Hertha BSC welcomes Mainz to the Olympiastadion on Saturday.
Tim Chandler will dress but probably won't start for Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday when the Eagles host Augsburg.
Terrence Boyd continues to recover from a knee injury and will miss RasenBallsport Leipzig's Saturday match against Eintracht Braunschweig.
Andrew Wooten will look to make Sandhausen's bench against SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Sunday.
Jerome Kiesewetter should dress for Stuttgart II at Halle on Saturday.