CLINT WADDELL - Friday, February 11, 2011
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 will be shooting for second place in the Bundesliga while Edson Buddle and Ingolstadt try to get out of the relegation zone.
Werder Bremen - Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover will travel to take on slumping Werder Bremen on Sunday.
A last-minute goal by Claudio Pizarro to tie Mainz last weekend has been the highlight of the last three weeks in Bremen. The team has lost two of three, the starting goalkeeper Tim Wiese is still sitting out a suspension and morale is at an all-time low. Bremen has even decided to take on a motivational trainer to help them get of the rut.
Hannover was lucky to walk away with a win last weekend against a self-destructing Wolfsburg team. The win has put them within striking distance of second place in the standings once again.
Cherundolo has settled into his role as captain and was one of the best last week. DaMarcus Beasley, on the other hand, is still looking at getting playing time. He has been muscled out of contention by a few of the younger players and is still waiting for his first minutes of action in 2011.
Hannover is still without season-long absences Leon Andreasen and Carlitos who are still working their way back to fitness.
Along with the suspended Wiese, Bremen will be without a pair of defenders with knee problems, Sebastian and Naldo. The team will also be without midfielders Daniel Jensen and Wesley.
FC Augsburg - MSV Duisburg
Goalkeeper David Yelldell and MSV Duisburg will face a hard test on Friday when they travel to take on Augsburg.
It has gotten tight at the top in the 2. Bundesliga. There are just five points separating the top five and the Duisburg-Augsburg match-up looks to be the most important of the weekend. The team that wins will be able to put some pressure on league leaders Hertha BSC.
Duisburg's hard-fought win last weekend may have some consequences. Two players – Goran Sukalo und Stefan Maierhofer – picked up their fifth yellow cards and will be suspended for this weekend.
In addition, Duisburg will be without Sefa Yilmaz who pulled a muscle in his thigh and will not travel with the team. The Zebras will have to rely on other players for offense.
Augsburg will also be without a key offensive player as Michael Thurk is serving a suspension. The team is also without midfielder Ibrahima Traore and forward Torsten Oehrl.
Fortuna Düsseldorf - FC Ingolstadt 04
Fortuna Düsseldorf will be host to Edson Buddle and FC Ingolstadt on Sunday as the team tries to shoot its way out of the relegation zone.
Buddle has been a good investment so far for Ingolstadt. The American forward has picked up a goal and an assist and is making the league's defenses work hard to keep him away from goal.
After a very slow start, Düsseldorf has managed to move up in the league standings and boasts the most potent offense of 2011. The team suffered a setback this week however when team captain Andreas Lambertz – "Lumpi" – was ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.
American defender Amaechi Igwe is still out with a knee injury and Ingolstadt will also be without Andreas Görlitz.
Along with Lumpi, Düsseldorf will be missing midfielder Patrick Zoundi and forward Thomas Bröker.
Karlsruher SC - Hertha BSC
Two Americans will meet up on Sunday when Luis Robles and KSC host Alfredo Morales and Hertha BSC.
Hertha BSC made it harder on themselves last week when they lost to their local rivals. Good for Union Berlin – they were able to move further away from the relegation zone. It also might have provided KSC with an extra dose of hope. If a relegation candidate can beat the first-place team, why can't they?
A big problem might be actually scoring. It has been difficult for Karlsruhe to score all season and they will have to change that if they want to fight their way to the safety of the middle of the standings.
Morales has just played in three games for Hertha this year. The youngster will be looking for some minutes off the bench again this week.
KSC still has a range of injuries to deal with. Midfielders Marco Engelhardt, Gaetan Krebs, and Godfried Aduobe have all been ruled out as well as defender Sebastian Langkamp and forwards Macauley Chrisantus and Christian Timm.
Hertha BSC should travel with a full squad.
Ricardo Clark is still out with a broken cheekbone and won't take part in Eintracht Frankfurt's game against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Defender Daniel Williams is still recovering from a knee injury and won't travel with Freiburg when they take on Schalke on Saturday.
Tyson Chandler is still trying to break into the starting line-up for FC Nürnberg and will most likely start on the bench when the team travels to take on Stuttgart.
After limited action for 1860 Munich, Bobby Wood will be hoping to get some minutes against Erzgebirge Aue on Monday.
Rot Weiss Ahlen will be without Matthew Taylor for the nex few weeks as the forward recovers from a calf muscle tear. The team meets up with Wacker Burghausen on Saturday.
Fabian Hürzeler will be hoping to get some playing time with Bayern Munich II when the team hosts Carl Zeiss Jena on Friday.