PREVIEW: GERMAN WEEKEND ACTION
While most eyes in Germany will follow the big match between Dortmund and Bayern Munich, there will be many Americans in action, including Tim Chandler, Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones.
FC Nuremberg - VfL Wolfsburg
Still without a win this season, Tim Chandler and Nuremberg look to end that 12-match winless run at home against Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Not only has Der Club struggled to start out the season, but its play at Grundig-Stadion in Nuremberg has been absolutely dreadful. The Franconians have recorded just two points, have scored three goals and hold a league-worst -9 goal differential at home.
Trying to buck those trends will be tough for Nuremberg against Wolfsburg. The Wolves are currently in fifth place in the Bundesliga with 21 points and have won four matches in a row, including a big win over Dortmund before the international break.
Der Club will be without Berkay Dabanil and Timo Gebhart because of shoulder problems and groin surgery. Christian Träsch and Adelino Andre Vieira de Freitas are out for Wolfsburg with a hairline fracture of a metatarsal bone and a torn ACL, respectively.
FC Augsburg - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson should make his first start since September 28th when he and Hoffenheim travel to Augsburg on Saturday, whose own American, Michael Parkhurst, will need a miracle to dress.
Although Johnson left the U.S. camp for the international break early, he should be healthy enough, and whether he plays at left back or left midfield is up to coach Markus Gisdol. He will look to help turn things around for Hoffenheim, which has won just one of its last seven league matches.
Known for having slow starts and managing great escape acts late since rejoining the Bundesliga two seasons ago, Augsburg has started this season much faster. Augsburg has 13 points through 12 matches, which is four more points than the Fuggerstädter recorded last season in the season's first half.
Going into the match, neither team is reporting any significant injuries.
Eintracht Frankfurt - FC Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones and Schalke will look to take advantage of a struggling Frankfurt team when they go to Frankfurt on Saturday.
Dealing with a European campaign after a surprise return to the Bundesliga last season seems to have caught up to Frankfurt in recent weeks. Before the international break, the Eagles lost four consecutive matches across all competitions, a stretch which has seen them drop into 15th place in the Bundesliga standings.
Schalke, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down season. The Royal Blues own a goal differential of zero despite sitting in sixth place in the standings.
The Royal Blues will miss key components to their team in Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Marco Höger and Klaas Jan Huntelaar with knee injuries, while Christian Clemens is still recovering from a torn muscle. Pirmin Schwegler is out for Frankfirt as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
1. FC Cologne - FC Ingolstadt 04
Trying to get out of the relegation zone in the 2.Bundesliga, Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt face a tall task of getting a result at Cologne on Saturday.
Ingolstadt has pulled itself from the cellar of the German second division and into the relegation playoff spot following a three-match unbeaten streak that includes wins over second-place Fürth and seventh-place Aalen. The Schanzer have allowed just one goal over that stretch.
That steak is in jeopardy against Cologne, which sits atop the 2.Bundesliga standings with 27 points. The Billy Goats have been particularly impressive at home, not losing a single match and allowing just two goals.
Ingolstadt will not have Almog Cohen and Leon Jessen available because of a red-card suspension and knee problems, while Cologne is not reporting any significant injuries.
Preußen Münster - Stuttgarter Kickers
Tied on points and hanging on both sides of the relegation zone in the 3.Liga, Matt Taylor and Münster will play Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers on Saturday for an early match with big implications in the relegation battle.
Münster seemed to have turned around a bad start with a four-match unbeaten streak that saw the Eagles climb out of the relegation zone, but a three-match winless streak followed the unbeaten streak, keeping the Eagles from distancing themselves from the relegation zone.
The Kickers have taken advantage of Münster's recent struggles, collecting four points in their last two matches to pull level on points with the Eagles. While Münster's biggest issues come on defense, the Kickers have problems finding the back of the net, tied for the third-lowest goal total in the third tier with 18.
The Stuttgarter Kickers will be without Vincenzo Marchese because of an ankle injury, Marcos Alvarez because of knee problems and Daniel Engelbrecht because of myocardial inflammation. Münster will be without Kevin Schöneberg, who was suspended by the team for off-the-field issues.
John Anthony Brooks will make the Matchday 18 for Hertha Berlin at home on Saturday against Bayer Leverkusen and could make his first start since September 22.
Steve Cherundolo should be on the bench for Hannover when the Reds travel to Hamburg on Sunday.
Andrew Wooten probably will not dress for Kaiserslautern against Union Berlin on Saturday in 2.Bundesliga action.
American forward Bobby Wood should be a bench option for 1860 Munich coach Friedhelm Funkel when die Löwen host Greuther Fürth on Monday.