PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
While the top tier Germany is still on break, the 2.Bundesliga and 3.Liga seasons begin this weekend, and a number of Americans will lineup on the fields in Germany yet again.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Erzgebirge Aue
After transferring from Hertha Berlin following the 2012-2013 season, Alfredo Morales will make his Ingolstadt debut in the team's opener against Aue on Friday.
During the past three seasons in which the team has played in the 2.Bundesliga following its promotion from the 3.Liga, Ingolstadt has failed to finish in the top 10 in the standings, finishing tied for 12th place last season. This season, the Schanzer hope to make it into the top half of the standings and not have to worry about relegation.
Aue's recent history is quite similar to Ingolstadt's. The team from the Ore Mountains enjoyed great success during the first season in the 2.Bundesliga after earning promotion with Ingolstadt, the Veilchen finished just above the relegation spots the last two seasons.
Ingolstadt will be without Andre Mijatovic, as the Croatian defender has a broken metatarsal bone, and Tobias Nickenig will not be available for Aue with a back injury.
FC St. Pauli - TSV 1860 Munich
Despite 1860 Munich bolstering its attack in the transfer window, Bobby Wood looks set to start the Löwen's opener at St. Pauli in Hamburg on Friday.
For 1860 Munich, the goal every season since 2004-2005 has been to earn promotion back into the Bundesliga, but only in the past two seasons has that dream seemed realistic. Back-to-back sixth-place finishes put the Löwen onto a list of potential promotion candidates for this season.
Two years removed from a one-year stint in Germany's top division, St. Pauli is also on the list of candidates to earn promotion. The Buccaneers underachieved last season, finishing in 10th place with 43 points, and they lost a lot of talent from last season's team, including leading scorer Daniel Ginczek.
Daniel Bierokfa is will miss the match for 1860 Munich with inflammation on the sole of one of his feet, while St. Pauli will be without Sebastian Schachten with an unidentified muscle injury and Kevin Schindler with an ankle problem.
Preußen Münster - Wacker Burghausen
Falling one point short last season of the promotion playoff spot in the 3.Liga, Matt Taylor and Münster start off another promotion push against Burghausen on Saturday.
Taylor and the Eagles began last season with a bang, leading the 3.Liga early on and scored an upset against Werder Bremen in the first round of the DFB Pokal, but an untimely loss in the team's third-to-last match against the Stuttgarter Kickers sunk it in the end.
Although not as successful two seasons ago, Burghausen still managed an eighth place finish in the 3.Liga, but the team recorded more losses than wins.
Münster will be without Julian Riedel because of an ankle injury and Kevin Schöneberg because of a shin injury. Burghausen will have not Maurice Müller due to a knuckle contusion.
Andrew Wooten will hope to make Kaiserslautern's bench for the team's opener at Paderborn on Saturday.
Center back Royal-Dominique Fennell will not be available for the Stuttgarter Kickers in their match on Saturday against Rot-Weiß Erfurt.
Jerome Kiesewetter should dress for Stuttgart II's match at Dortmund II on Saturday.