DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Timothy Chandler and international teammate Jermaine Jones will square off when Nürnberg and Schalke resume their friendly rivalry while Steve Cherundolo and Hannover face enemies Wolfsburg.
FC Nürnberg - FC Schalke 04
Timothy Chandler should be lining up on the right side of Nürnberg's midfield once again on Wednesday evening when they host Jermaine Jones and Champions League-bound Schalke.
Despite battling to a draw over the weekend, Nürnberg saw their safety cushion remain just three points, and notching their first win in more than one month will perhaps be the final piece necessary to assure their safety from relegation.
This won't come easy, with third-place Schalke coming to visit on a relative tear in Bundesliga, and looking to run their unbeaten streak in the league to six games.
They easily smashed a fairly strong Hannover team by a three-goal margin over the weekend, and a win might practically assure them of holding onto the league's third-place spot and automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage.
Nürnberg is without suspended midfielder Markus Feulner, midfielder Adam Hlousek who is out for the season with an ACL tear, along with strikers Alexander Esswein and Christian Eigler will miss out due to injury.
Schalke are missing backup keepers Ralf Fährmann and Timo Hildebrand to injury.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Hamburger SV
Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson should both be in Hoffenheim's starting lineup on Wednesday when they try to push visiting Hamburg SV closer to their first-ever relegation.
Joseph-Claude Gyau has been playing with Hoffenheim's second team as of late, and will likely start for the team one day later when they host Nürnberg's second team.
With two victories in their previous three games, Hoffenheim appear to have finally broken free of a malaise that had marred their spring. Amazingly, they are just four points off the pace for Europa League qualification, however they will need a little help to jump the teams ahead of them fighting for the spot.
A win in Hamburg would run their current unbeaten streak to four games, and perhaps push the Hamburgers closer to their first-ever relegation in the modern era of German soccer.
For Hoffenheim, only defender Isaac Vorsah is missing with an adductor pull, while Hamburg are missing the defensive trio of Dennis Aogo, Dennis Diekmeierand Slobodan Rajkovic to injury along with suspended forward Jose Paolo Guerrero.
Bayer Leverkusen - FC Kaiserslautern
Andrew Wooten will likely take the field at some point on Wednesday when Kaiserslautern pay a visit to struggling Bayer Leverkusen.
With the return of Rene Adler to full strength, David Yelldell has been pushed down Leverkusen's goalkeeping chart, and will not likely be in uniform for the game.
Wooten's recent substitute appearances have pushed him into the running for earning a start in a completely misfiring Kaiserslautern attack. With three goals in their last ten games and relegation a certainty, they are just playing for whatever thin shreds of pride they may have hanging from an other wise tattered season.
Leverkusen are in no danger of relegation, but are in a similar mental place as their opponents, with six straight winless games coming into Wednesday's matchup, and their hopes of European qualification slowly slipping out of their once-firm grasp.
Leverkusen are without defender Daniel Schwaab along with midfielders Lars Bender and Sidney Sam, all due to injuries.
Kaiserslautern's troubles continue with the absences of midfielders Ariel Borysiukand Christian Tiffert, along with forwards Dorge Rostand Kouemaha and Itay Schechter.
Hannover 96 - VfL Wolfsburg
After having the weekend's game off, Steve Cherundolo will likely be back in Hannover's starting lineup on Wednesday when they take on regional rivals VfL Wolfsburg.
With their now-finished run to the Europa League quarterfinals completely filling up the team's spring schedule, head coach Mirko Slomka gave Cherundolo a rest for their weekend game against Schalke.
The outcome was less than spectacular, as Hannover were picked apart in a 3-0 loss, and now must fight local enemies Wolfsburg for possible qualification back into European competition.
Wolfsburg finally saw their impressive four-game winning run come to an end over the weekend, although the 3-1 loss to reigning champions and current favorites Dortmund is hardly anything they will take too much to heart.
Wolfsburg easily won the first meeting in November in a 4-1 blowout, and will hope that another similar result will allow them to jump Hannover in the standings.
Hannover are without midfielder Lars Stindl, who is sidelined with an adductor problem, and forward Mohammed Abdellaoue to a knee injury.
Wolfsburg are missing defender Alexander Madlung and forward Patrick Helmes, both to injuries.
SV Darmstadt 98 - Rot-Weiß Oberhausen
Preston Zimmerman will look for a return to Darmstadt's starting lineup on Wednesday when they attempt to increase their safety net in a crucial six-pointer against visiting Rot-Weiß Oberhausen.
Darmstadt can take a huge step towards their safety should they manage to beat the currently-bottom-three Oberhausen. Heading into Wednesday's game, they hold a XX-point advantage above the relegation line, and with just four games to go, adding three more points to their total would almost surely mean another season in the 3. Liga.
They will need to be careful, as Oberhausen have shown some signs of life in their quest to avoid a trip down to the Regionalliga next season. While drawing their last two, they have gone seven straight undefeated, and have proven tough defensively while just opportunistic enough on the attack to nick important results.
Both teams are reporting full squads for the game.
Alfredo Morales did not take the field on Tuesday evening when Hertha moved closer to relegation with a 2-1 home loss to Freiburg.
Terrence Boyd will likely not be in Dortmund's gameday roster on Wednesday on Wednesday when the team faces a crucial, likely title-deciding home matchup against FC Bayern.
Matt Taylor should see substitute action for Paderborn on Wednesday when they try to make a push back towards the promotion playoff spot on their trip to Erzgebirge Aue.
After making his first-team debut with an eight-minute cameo on Thursday, Villyan Bijev was not in the gameday roster for Fortuna Düsseldorf on Tuesday evening as they squeaked by FSV Frankfurt with a 1-0 win that kept them in the promotion playoff spot.
Bobby Wood is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery, and will not be available when 1860 Munich host MSV Duisburg on Wednesday.
Luis Robles has not been in uniform for Karlsruhe in recent weeks, and is not expected to suit up on Wednesday when the team hosts Dynamo Dresden.
Amaechi Igwe has not appeared for Babelsberg in recent weeks, and did not take part on Tuesday for their 1-0 loss at Osnabrück. The result left them still in the drop zone by goal differential.