PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Tim Chandler and Nuremberg will play their first match under the new coach, while Jermaine Jones and Schalke square off against their heated rival.
VfB Stuttgart - 1. FC Nuremberg
Tim Chandler and Nuremberg will have little time to implement new coach Gertjan Verbeek's tactics when they face Stuttgart on Friday night.
Der Club named Verbeek its coach on Tuesday, giving him two or three days to instill a new mentality into the Franconians. Nuremberg needs a big change, as it currently sits in the relegation playoff position and hasn't won a match yet through 10 matches across two competitions this season.
Since making a coaching change earlier this season, Stuttgart has lost just one match - in the second round of the DFB Pokal - and is riding a six-match unbeaten streak in the league coming into the weekend.
Der Club will be without Alexander Esswein because of an undisclosed injury and Timo Gebhart because of a team-sanctioned suspension. Stuttgart will not have Antonio Rüdiger and Moritz Leitner available with a red-card suspension and a knee injury.
FC Schalke 04 - Borussia Dortmund
In one of the biggest and most hated rivalries in Germany, Jermaine Jones and Schalke host Dortmund for the 83rd meeting of the Revierderby on Saturday.
Jones may be questionable because of a nagging knee injury, but the American midfielder is expected to still start in what is a big match for Schalke. The Royal Blues sit 10 points behind their heated rival, and after a big loss to Chelsea in the Champions League, they will be hoping to bounce back.
Dortmund, meanwhile, is coming into the match on a high, having beaten Arsenal in London, 2-1, on Tuesday. The Schwarzgelben have lost only one match in the Bundesliga this season and have won five of their last six matches across all competitions.
Schalke will be without Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Marco Höger because of knee injuries, while Jefferson Farfan will miss because of an abductor muscle injury. Dortmund will be without Lukasz Piszczek, Illkay Gündogan and Sebastian Kehl as they have just returned to practice from groin surgery, a lumbar vertebra injury and an ankle injury, respectively.
SV Darmstadt 98 - Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor and Münster travel to third-place Darmstadt on Saturday, looking to continue their unbeaten streak.
Last season, these two teams were on opposite ends of the 3.Liga standings, with Münster fighting for promotion and Darmstadt just trying to survive. This season, the roles are reversed, as the Eagles sit three points above the relegation zone and the Lilies are in third place with 22 points and goal differential of 10.
Münster struggled out of the gate, but things have finally turned around for the Eagles. They're on a four-match unbeaten streak, including two consecutive 4-0 wins over Chemnitz and Dortmund II.
The suspended Kevin Schöneberg will miss the match for Münster, while Julian Ratei and Uwe Hesse are out for Darmstadt with an ankle injury and the flu.
John Anthony Brooks could make his return to Hertha Berlin's bench on Saturday when the Berliners travel to Munich and face off with Bayern Munich.
Michael Parkhurst will hope to dress for Augsburg on Saturday at Leverkusen.
Fabian Johnson is not an option to start for Hoffenheim on Saturday in Hannover as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. Another American fullback, Hannover's Steve Cherundolo, will hope to dress for the first time this season after returning to practice two weeks ago.
Alfredo Morales should make Ingolstadt's bench at Greuther Fürth on Friday.
Bobby Wood will hope to make 1860 Munich's bench when die Löwen travel to Karlsruhe on Sunday in 2.Bundesliga action.
Andrew Wooten isn't likely to make Kaiserslautern's lineup at Bochum on Monday.
Royal-Dominique Fennell will be a bench option for Stuttgarter Kicker's coach Horst Steffen on Saturday in the 3.Liga's cellar duel at Saarbrucken.