DAVID SMITH - Monday, October 27, 2008
Michael Bradley will do his best to give his new coach a second consecutive victory when Borussia Mönchengladbach travel to Wolfsburg in midweek Bundesliga action.
VfL Wolfsburg - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley looks to keep his place in the starting lineup and help Borussia Mönchengladbach to a second consecutive victory as they travel to face VfL Wolfsburg on Tuesday evening.
Having won their first game under new coach Hans Meyer, the Foals face the tough task of traveling to the Volkswagen Arena where the Wolves have yet to lose this season.
Gladbach's victory on Saturday over Karlsruhe was only their second of the season, however with Meyer at the reins, a sense of renewed confidence can be felt, giving the team hope that they are on the verge of turning their season around and working their way out of the drop zone.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, came into the season with great expectation for a run at the upper echelons of the Bundesliga and through the UEFA Cup, having embarked on quite the summer spending spree.
The campaign has been an inconsistent one so far for coach Felix Magath and his team, however, as they currently sit in ninth place having only been victorious once in their last five tries.
Saturday's loss to his former team Bayern Munich was especially painful for Magath, as he watched his team foolishly squander a two-goal lead to finally lose 4-2.
Meyer has nearly the same squad available as in Saturday's victory, still missing Ivorian striker Steve Gohouri to a torn muscle and defender Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker to shin splints. Additionally, regular substitute midfield player Soumaila Coulibaly is also set to miss the game due to muscle tightness.
The injury table has been kind to Magath, with no key players to miss the game with injury or suspension.
Hertha Berlin - Hannover 96
Still hanging barely onto safety from the relegation zone, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 face a tricky visit to Berlin to face Hertha on Wednesday.
Hannover have shown brief signs in recent weeks of improving on their poor early-season play, having most recently pulled out a difficult 1-1 tie with visiting Werder Bremen.
Getting anything out of their trip to Hertha's Olympic Stadium may prove a tougher task for Dieter Hecking's team, with the Berliners having gone undefeated in their last five games to occupy a respectable sixth place in an extraordinarily tight upper half of the standings.
Since returning from an earlier injury, Cherundolo has been a workhorse in the back, playing every minute of Hannover's last four games, a challenging run which has seen them put up a pair of tough ties, a win and only a single loss against the likes of Bayern, Dortmund, Bremen and league leaders Hoffenheim.
Hecking must still make due without usual starting keeper Robert Enke, who is out with a broken foot, once again putting backup Florian Fromlowitz on the spot following his commanding performance against Bremen.
Hannover will also without regularly featuring defenders Mario Eggimann and Valerien Ismael, who are sidelined with a torn thigh muscle and knee injury. Starting midfielder Arnold Bruggink is still unavailable due to a red card suspension.
Hertha coach Lucien Favre will be missing several key players both in the attack and defense, most importantly on-loan Ukrainian striker Andrey Voronin with a foot injury.
Usual starter and Swiss international Steve von Bergen is still out with a back injury while regular contributor Lukasz Piszczek will also miss the game due to hip problems. U21 attacking midfielder Patrick Ebert will miss his sixth consecutive game in recovery from a groin operation.
Neither Sal Zizzo for Hannover nor Hertha's Bryan Arguez, who was just named to the US U-20 November training camp in Spain, are expected to feature in the game.
FC Cologne - Borussia Dortmund
Neven Subotic once again will lead Borussia Dortmund's defense onto the field on Wednesday against FC Cologne, as they try to snap a streak of three consecutive deadlocked results which has seen them fallen to eighth in the standings.
Despite having not tasted defeat in over a month, Jürgen Klopp's team has not had the necessary fire to pull away from their opponents, and have only been able to manage to get one point apiece from their previous three games.
In Cologne, they face a team which might give them the chance they need to get back into the win column, as they struggled in recent weeks to barely pull out victories against the dregs of the league before finally succumbing in a painful 2-0 loss to Leverkusen on Friday.
With defender Dede still out with his pesky knee, Klopp must also find a way for his team to effectively attack without influential Polish forward Jakub Blaszczykowski, who suffered a painful broken nose on Sunday.
Cologne coach Christof Daum has the full squad from Friday night's loss available once again, however Turkish international defender Ümit Özat must still miss the game due to Myocarditis.
Hansa Rostock - Gruether Fürth
After finally finding his way onto the field for Rostock on Friday for a second half appearance, Heath Pearce will hope to have another shot on Tuesday when the free-scoring Greuther Fürth visit the DKB Arena.
The recent emergence of on-loan left back Bastian Oczipka has left Pearce wanting for playing time in the last few games, having missed the field all together for two consecutive weeks before Friday's cameo.
With Fürth representing perhaps the most highly-charged offensive opponent which Hansa has seen all season, coach Frank Pagelsdorf may choose to stick with a more tightly-defending back line, meaning Pearce may have to make due with hoping for another late appearance.
Currently amongst the middle pack of teams in the standings at eighth place, Rostock could potentially jump into the top five with a victory over Fürth. They have put together a nice run in the last month, having notched up three victories and a tie against a single loss in their last five games, including their historic nine-goal explosion against Koblenz.
Their offense will be looking to get back on track after the weekend's scoreless tie, and Tuesday's encounter may be a good opportunity against an inconsistent Fürth team which is giving up nearly two goals per contest.
Pagelsdorf will make due without usual starting midfielder Tobias Rathgeb for the third consecutive game due to an adductor injury. Regular keeper Stefan Wächter and Zafer Yelen are also still sidelined with long term injuries and are unlikely to see their return anytime soon.
Fürth will be missing key offensive weapon Stefan Reisinger, who is out for his third straight game with a thigh strain. In addition, occasional starters Martin Meichelbeck and the Brazilian striker Cidimar will view Tuesday night's action from afar due to injuries.
1860 München - TuS Koblenz
Matt Taylor will get his shot at breaking Gregg Berhalter and 1860 Munich's stringent defense as David Yelldell will do his best to keep the Koblenz goal safe in Wednesday night's encounter in Munich's Allianz Arena.
Putting together a gutsy come-from-behind tie on Sunday against Nürnburg, Taylor and Yelldell's Koblenz team showed the tough defensive discipline that made them one of the more stingy teams in the league prior to their massive defeat in Rostock.
In similar fashion, Gregg Berhalter has led the Lions' back line to become one of the toughest nuts to crack in the second Bundesliga, having only allowed a total of three goals in their last five games. This unbeaten streak has helped them to slowly climb to ninth place, a position which they are hoping to improve upon against Koblenz.
After starting out the season in a promising fashion, Koblenz has struggled, failing to put together consecutive victories this term. The long journey to Munich will not be an easy one, but coach Uwe Rapolder is hoping for a bit of the sort of offensive magic from his attacking duo of Taylor and Njazi Kuqi that led them to a recent five-goal thrashing of Kaiserslautern.
Munich coach Marco Kurz is still missing Lars Bender due to an ankle injury as well as Daniel Bierofka and Danny Schwarz, who are sidelined for extended periods of time with back and ankle injuries.
Koblenz will once again be without midfielder Rüdiger Ziehl who is still suffering from a torn muscle, but otherwise is missing no key players.
Rot-Weiss midfielder Grover Gibson is still in recovery for his knee injury and will miss his team's trip to take on Alemannia Aachen on Tuesday.
FC Kaiserslautern back-up goalkeeper Luis Robles will take his usual place on the bench behind Tobias Sippel as his team hosts VfL Osnabrück on Wednesday.