PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Jermaine Jones and Schalke look to turn around a sluggish start to the season, while Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt try to get off the schneid.
Hannover 96 - FC Schalke 04
Following a rough start to the season across all competitions, Jermaine Jones and Schalke need a good result against a Steve Cherundolo-less Hannover on Saturday.
The Royal Blues came into the season with some hype following the organization's moves during the offseason, but the tea hasn't lived up to that promise. Schalke has one point through two matches and struggled at home in the Champions League playoff round on Wednesday, meaning changes to the usual starting lineup might occur.
Hannover's results to start the season have been mixed, starting with a win over nine-man Wolfsburg, but Borussia Mönchengladbach blew the Reds out in the team's second match, making it difficult to believe that Hannover can return to European contention.
Schalke will be without its top goal-scoring threat in Klaas Jan Huntelaar with a partially torn ligament in his knee, while defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos will also miss as he continues to recover from his own knee injury. Hannover will not have Cherundolo and Andre Hoffmann because of knee problems as well.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - SC Freiburg
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim look to continue their solid start to the Bundesliga season against Freiburg on Saturday.
After a year in which the team pulled off an improbable escape from relegation, Johnson and Hoffenheim have already turned things around from the 2012-2013 season. Recording four points through two matches has the team sitting in seventh place.
Freiburg punched well above its weight last season and qualified for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The problem for the Breisgau Brazilians was that teams raided their best talent, and that has shown in the team's results so far, with Freiburg unable to get a single point this season.
Sebastian Rudy will miss the match for Hoffenheim because of a hip injury, while Freiburg's Vegar Eggen Hedenstad is out because of an abductor injury.
Hertha Berlin - Hamburger SV
John Anthony Brooks returns to the starting lineup for Hertha Berlin when the team hosts Hamburg on Saturday.
Hertha coach Jos Luhukay left Brooks on the bench last week before subbing the American center back late to give Brooks a break following his time with the United States men's national team. The Old Lady's defense held strong enough, going on the road to tie Nuremberg.
Hamburg doesn't come into the match with high spirits, especially after Hoffenheim blew out the Rothosen in their home opener last weekend. Hamburg can be a Jekyll and Hyde team, playing well one week and struggling the next.
Marcel Ndjeng and Pierre-Michel Lassonga are unavailable for Hertha because of toe and ankle injuries, while Hamburg will be without Johan Djourou and Marcell Jansen because of a groin injury and a broken toe, respectively. Also, Hamburg suspended Dennis Aogo and Tomas Rincon, making them unavailable for the match.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Arminia Bielefeld
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt continue to record their first 2.Bundesliga points of the season when Bielefeld comes to town on Friday.
Ingolstadt hasn't managed to pull everything together, finding a way to lose all four matches to start the season. The first two matches involved red cards, while last weekend the Schanzer lost because of an own goal.
Recently promoted Bielefeld has fared much better in its return to the German second division. The team has recorded five points thus far and is on a three-match unbeaten streak.
Ingolstadt will be without Andre Mijatovic and Moritz Hartmann with a broken metatarsal bone and a knee injury, respectively. Dennis Riemer and Jan Fießer are unavailable for Bielefeld because of knee injuries.
VfR Aalen - 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Andrew Wooten and Kaiserslautern head on the road to take on Aalen on Saturday.
Playing on the wing for much of last season while on loan to Sandhausen paid off for Wooten last week, as the German-American forward earned his first start of this season for Kaiserslautern on the left wing. It seems like he will be set to start there again, with the Red Devils looking to keep themselves within striking distance of first-place Greuther Fürth.
Four seasons removed from playing in the Regionalliga, Aalen is trying to survive its second season in the 2.Bundesliga in a row. Aalen finished a comfortable ninth place last season - its first since the turn of the century.
Kaiserslautern will be without Albert Bunjaku as he continues to recover from a knee surgery, and Aalen is not reporting any injuries.
SC Paderborn 07 - TSV 1860 Munich
Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich travel to Paderborn on Sunday, hoping to stay toward the top of the standings.
The Lions' desire to return to Germany's top tier is well documented, and for the past few years, the media has considered them promotion candidates, only for the team to fall short. Munich hasn't had a start like this one, however, and the team currently sits in the promotion-playoff spot four matches into the season.
Paderborn fell one point short promotion into the Bundesliga two seasons ago, but the team hasn't been close since then. Paderborn has struggled this season, losing its first two matches of this season and has tied the last two.
The Lions won't have Kodjovi Koussou, Daniel Bierofka and Dominik Stahl because of a knee injury, an inflamed foot and a lumbar vertebra injury. Paderborn will be without Alban Meha as he recovers from knee surgery.
Preußen Münster - Holstein Kiel
Matt Taylor and Münster hope to end a three-match tie streak when they host Kiel on Saturday in 3.Liga action.
The Eagles haven't lost through their first four matches, but outside of the season opener, the team hasn't found a way to win. Because of this, the Eagles are in ninth place, four points off the top of the 3.Liga standings.
Like Münster, Kiel has started the season unbeaten, and that has vaulted the team from Northern Germany to fifth place with eight points. It's not a bad start for a team that earned promotion into the 3.Liga last and is playing in the league for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
Münster will be without Robin Neupert due to a hip injury, while Jaroslaw Lidner will miss for Kiel because of a knee injury.
Tim Chandler will be a bench option for Nuremberg coach Michael Wiesinger when Der Club faces Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Michael Parkhurst should make Augsburg's bench on Sunday when the Fuggerstädter host Stuttgart.
Royal-Dominique Fennell will be on the Stuttgarter Kickers bench, while Jerome Kiesewetter will hope to make Stuttgart II's bench in the Stuttgarter Derby on Sunday.