PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
The first round of the DFB Pokal starts this weekend, meaning Americans in the Bundesliga will get their first competitive action of the season.
VfR Neumünster - Hertha Berlin
John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin play their first competitive match of the 2013-2014 at Neumünster on Sunday.
Berlin earned promotion to the German top division last season by losing just two matches, running away with the 2.Bundesliga. It's continued the cycle of the Old Lady yo-yoing back and forth between the top two tiers the past four seasons.
Neumünster was successful in their first season in the Regionalliga Nord, finishing in sixth place in the German fourth division. The team finished so high despite the -17 goal differential and 14 league losses.
Neumünster will be without Patrick Christophersen because of an Achilles tendon injury, while Hertha Berlin is not reporting any significant injuries.
SV Sandhausen - 1. FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler and Nürnberg kick off the 2013-2014 season at Sandhausen on Sunday.
Having moved up the field to play right wing toward the end of last season, Nürnberg coach Michael Wiesinger has deployed Chandler back at usual right back position in the preseason. He should play there on Sunday at the 2. Bundesliga team.
Sandhausen had been originally set to be relegated into the 3.Liga last season, but with Duisburg's financial issues, they survived another season in the second tier of German soccer.
Their woes of last season have apparently not improved one iota, as Sandhausen hasn't scored a goal yet in the young 2013-2014 season.
Neither team is reporting significant injuries going into the match.
1. FC Heidenheim - TSV 1860 Munich
After pushing himself into the starting lineup last week, Bobby Wood should lead the Lions into their first round matchup at Heidenheim on Friday.
In 104 degree weather at home, the Lions scored two unanswered goals late to secure their first win of the 2. Bundesliga season. It gave the team some confidence going into the DFB Pokal, having struggled in the opening against St. Pauli.
Despite Heidenheim plying its trade in the 3. Liga, Munich cannot take this match lightly. Heidenheim finished tied on points with Preußen Münster last season, one point off the promotion playoff spot, and are currently in sixth place this season through two matches.
Munich will be without Guillermo Vallori and Daniel Bierofka because of a red card suspension and a foot injury.
Heidenheim will be without first-choice goalkeeper Erol Sabanov because of a muscle injury, defender Timo Beermann because of a cruciate ligament tear and forwards Patrick Mayer because of a tendon injury and Michael Thurk also because of a muscle injury.
Sportfreunde Baumberg - FC Ingolstadt 04
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt look to put a nightmare start to the season behind them at Baumberg on Saturday.
Morales and the Schnazer have received two red cards in their first two matches of the season, with Morales receiving the first in his debut for Ingolstadt.
He didn't leave the greatest impression in that match, seemingly at fault for both goals Ingolstadt allowed.
Ingolstadt's opponent, Baumberg, plays in the Oberliga Niederrhein in the fifth tier of the German soccer system. This marks the first time the franchise will take part in the DFB Pokal, qualifying by winning the Niederrhein Cup.
Andre Mijatovic is out for Ingolstadt with a broken metatarsal bone, while Baumberg is not reporting any injuries at this time.
Preußen Münster - FC St. Pauli
Matt Taylor and Münster hope to pull off another DFB Pokal upset against St. Pauli on Sunday.
Last season, Taylor and Münster defeated Werder Bremen in the first round of the cup, 4-2, in extra time. Taylor had a hand in all four of the Eagles' goals in that match.
This season, the Eagles are playing as well as they had going into last year's match, meaning another upset isn't out of the realm of possibilities.
St. Pauli might be ripe for the picking, as four major players - goalkeeper Philipp Tschauner, defender Markus Thorandt and wingers Marc Rzatkowski and Fin Bartels - for the Buccaneers are coming into the match with a stomach virus. All four are questionable for the first-round matchup.
Outside of those players, Florian Mohr will miss as he continues to recover from a lumba vertebra injury, and Sebastian Schachten and Kevin Schindler are also out with an hip injury and an undisclosed injury.
Münster is not reporting any injuries.
Michael Parkhurst might be available for Augsburg's match at RasenBallsport Leipzig on Friday.
Fabian Johnson should dress for Hoffenheim in the team's first-round match at Aumund-Vegesack on Saturday.
Steve Cherundolo will miss Hannover's match at Victoria Hamberg on Sunday, as he continues to recover from minor knee surgery.
Jermaine Jones is questionable for Schalke in the team's Pokal match against Oberliga-team Nöttingen in Karlsruhe on Monday, as he struggles with back problems.
Andrew Wooten should be on Kaiserslautern's bench against Neckarsulmer on Saturday.