JT RICHARDSON - Thursday, December 17, 2009
Michael Bradley and the Foals will try to hand league leaders Leverkusen their first defeat while Steve Cherundolo and Hannover hope to avoid further disaster in Bochum.
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley and Mönchengladbach look to continue their winning ways as they make the short trip to face Leverkusen on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Mönchengladbach, league leaders Leverkusen likely will provide a stouter test than did Hannover 96 in losing 5-3 to Bradley's team.
At the very least, Mönchengladbach surely can't rely on three own goals as they did against Steve Cherundolo's Reds.
Mönchengladbach coach Michael Frontzeck again will have his full lineup available while Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes will be without midfielders Renato Augusto, Lars Bender and Simon Rolfes as they recover from injury.
While Mönchengladbach is firmly entrenched in the middle of the standings seven points out of European play and eight from relegation, Leverkusen is in a tight fight for the league lead. They are a point ahead of Schalke and two ahead of Bayern Munich, meaning the last game of the year for both teams has significantly more importance for the hosts.
Hannover 96 - VfL Bochum
Steve Cherundolo's Hannover squad looks to bury all memory of their disastrous 5-3 loss to Mönchengladbach as they host VfL Bochum.
The circumstances couldn't be more favorable for Hannover to end their five-game winless streak. They are traveling to Bochum to face a shorthanded team in the relegation zone, and they are highly motivated after giving up three own goals to lose 5-3 on Saturday.
Philip Bönig, Anthar Yahia, Mimoun Azaouagh will sit for the visitors due to yellow card accumulation and Diego Fernando Klimowicz will join them for his red card in the previous match.
In spite of the four starters missing, Bochum coach Heiko Herrlich can breathe easy at least knowing that his club's beer vendors are fully healthy for the match.
Hannover Coach Andreas Bergmann has much better luck on the injury front, as his team has no major absences. However, Didier Ya Konan will sit out the game after receiving a red card at the end of his two-goal outing against Mönchengladbach. In his place, striker Mike Hanke will make his first start of the season for Hannover.
Sal Zizzo is still recovering from a knee injury.
Jermaine Jones will continue to sit out recovering from his broken leg as Schalke host Mainz on Friday.
Bryan Arguez will miss Hertha Berlin's trip to Bayern Munich as their website has announced the two are parting ways.
David Yelldell is out with a knee injury and will watch from the stands on Friday as Koblenz host Matt Taylor and FSV Frankfurt.
Kenny Cooper is still recovering from a knee injury and will not join 1860 Munich on their trip to Berlin to face Union on Sunday.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench as winter champions Kaiserslautern visit Aubsburg on Monday evening.
Ian Joy will hope to be healthy once again when Ingolstadt host Aue on Saturday.