MATHEW WAGNER - Thursday, March 12, 2015
John Anthony Brooks and Hertha BSC's relegation fight continues, while Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt march on toward the Bundesliga.
Hertha BSC - FC Schalke 04
John Anthony Brooks and Hertha BSC will look to stay out of the relegation zone when they host Schalke on Saturday.
Brooks is questionable for the match with a hip contusion, but should he prove healthy enough to play, then coach Pal Dardai said in his pre-match press conference that the American center back will play for the Old Lady.
Hertha is in the middle of a four-match stretch in which the team faces three teams also in the relegation battle. The Old Lady started it off in a positive manner with a goalless draw at last-place Stuttgart, and the team will face Hamburg (15th place) and Paderborn (16th place) in what will be more relegation six-pointers.
Before those important matches, though, Schalke stands in Hertha's way. The Royal Blues are on the other end of the Bundesliga standings, one point out of a Champion League spot in fifth place, and even though they crashed out of the tournament in the midweek, thy did managed to win at Real Madrid, 4-3, to give the reigning European champions a scare.
Along with Brooks, Hertha's injury report includes Nico Schutz, who is suspended because of a red card, and Julian Schieber, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. As for Schalke, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is questionable with a calf injury, while Deniis Aogo with back problems, Jan Kirchhoff with Achilles tendon problems, Julian Draxler and Sidney Sam with thigh injuries, Ralf Fährmann with a torn ACL and Chinedu Obasi with a shin injury will miss the match.
Eintracht Frankfurt - SC Paderborn 07
Tim Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt look to bounce back from a rough loss when the Adler host struggling Paderborn on Saturday.
Chandler should start at right back for Frankfurt.
The Adler's results in recent games have been a mixed bag. In the last four matches, Frankfurt has won two and lost two, neither consecutively, and it beat an upper echelon team in Schalke, while losing to middle-of-the-road teams like Mainz and Köln.
Paderborn, meanwhile, has been struggling as of late, losing its last three matches by a scoreline of 11-0. Those losses came against three teams currently in Champions League positions in Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen.
Frankfurt will not have Constant Djakpa, Aleksandar Ignjovski and Marco Russ available because of a torn ACL, a stomach illness and a knee surgery, respectively. Thomas Bertels will miss the match for Paderborn after going through an ankle injury.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Karlsruher SC
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt will hope to build off just their second win of 2015 when they welcome Karlsruhe to Audi-Sportpark on Sunday.
Morales should start in central midfield for the Schanzer.
Ingolstadt took care of business in the Hinrunde and headed into 2015 with a healthy lead atop the German second division, but a three-match winless run against three teams that were near the bottom of the 2.Bundesliga helped sliced that advantage to just six points. The Schanzer seem to have righted the ship with a win over Aue, though, to stop the slide.
Karlsruhe, meanwhile, is enjoying a six-match unbeaten run at the moment, although it might be misleading - Karlsruhe has recorded three consecutive draws, including two that ended goalless. Still, the team sits in fourth place, just two points out of the second automatic promotion spot and the promotion-playoff position.
Danny da Costa is out for Ingolstadt with a lower leg break, while Karlsruhe will be without Dennis Kempe, Jan Mauersberger and Sascha Traut because of calf problems, a torn thigh muscle and a torn ACL, respectively.
SV Sandhausen - Eintracht Braunschweig
Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen will try to climb further up the 2.Bundesliga standings when they host Braunschweig on Sunday.
Wooten should start somewhere in attack for the Hardtwälder, whether that be on the right wing or at striker.
Coming out of the winter break, Sandhausen was sitting in the middle of the relegation fight, but a five-match unbeaten run has seen the Hardtwälder shoot up to 11th place. More importantly, though, they have accrued 10-point cushion over the relegation zone.
Braunschweig, meanwhile, is the exact opposite of Sandhausen. The Lions are on a five-match winless streak in the league, including four losses, and they have dropped out to the promotion race and into seventh place - eight points away from a promotion place.
Snadhausen will not have Leart Paqarada, Sefan Kulovits and Robert Zillner available because of a knee injury, a torn thigh muscle and a torn ACL. Braunschweig's Dennis Kruppke is out because of an undisclosed injury.
Chemnitzer FC - VfB Stuttgart II
Jerome Kiesewetter could be pulling double duty this weekend when Stuttgart II travels to Chemnitz on Saturday.
Kiesewetter could dress for Stuttgart's first-team match in Leverkusen on Friday and also start for the Schwaben's under-23 team in 3.Liga action on Saturday, just like he did last weekend.
The Schwaben have built a solid cushion over the relegation zone at nine points with 11 matches to go, thanks to a three-match unbeaten run that ended with a loss to Halle last weekend. Still, they will like to keep that advantage.
Chemnitz is in a similar situation as Stuttgart II. The Chemnitzer are in the middle of the standings, and they hold a 12-point lead over the relegation zone through 28 matches.
Stuttgart II will be without Karim Haggui and Philipp Mwene because of red card suspensions, Tim Leibold because of a shin contusion and Daniel Vier because of a knee injury. Chemnitz will not have Marc Endres, Marc Hensel and Anon Fink available with a red card suspension, a calf injury and a knee injury, respectively.
Fabian Johnson should dress for Mönchengladbach on Sunday when the Fohlen host Hannover.
Bobby Wood's knee injury will keep him out of Aue's encounter with Aalen on Sunday in a 2.Bundesliga relegation six-pointer.
Terrence Boyd will miss RasenBallsport Leipzig's Monday clash with Düsseldorf as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
Joe Gyau will miss Dortmund II's Saturday match in Köln, while Junior Flores will hope to dress for the Schwarzgelben.
Royal-Dominique Fennell should dress for the Stuttgarter Kickers in Osnabrück on Saturday.