PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Michael Bradley and the Foals look to continue their hot streak on their trip to Bayern's Allianz Arena while Steve Cherundolo's return will be a welcome sight for Hannover as they take on the league leaders.
FC Bayern - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley will take his usual place in midfield as streaking Borussia Mönchengladbach head to the Allianz Arena to take on Bayern Munich on Friday.
A run of solid performances has given Borussia Mönchengladbach a boost of confidence ahead of this week's game. The team hasn't lost since October and has collected ten points in the last four outings, putting them in 11th place. A win away might even put them in the top half the standings.
Bradley has been key to the holding midfield for Gladbach, partnering with Thorben Marx in the middle and Marco Reus and Juan Arango on the wings. Head Coach Michael Frontzeck seems to have settled on a consistent starting 11 through the team's strong run.
After putting down Hannover easily last week, fourth-place Bayern will be looking to ease the pressure on head coach Louis van Gaal even further. The team will also be welcoming back Dutch superstar Arjen Robben to the bench, who started training again this past week.
Gladbach will be without defender Filip Daems who is recovering from a foot injury, defender Paul Stalteri who has knee problems and midfielder Gal Alberman, who has to undergo surgery on his heel.
Bayern will be missing Franck Ribery with a patella injury and defender Andreas Görlitz with foot problems.
Hannover 96 - Bayer Leverkusen
Steve Cherundolo is expected to return to Hannover's back four after missing a pair of games with a slight knee injury, as the Reds will do their best to topple league leaders Leverkusen on Saturday.
The US international was forced to the sidelines for the team's last two games after taking a slight knock in international duty against Slovakia, and coach Andreas Bergmann will be happy to have him back in the lineup as they have leaked five goals in losing both contests.
Saturday's game completes a difficult trio against three of the league's top teams, with the undefeated league leaders Bayer Leverkusen sure to offer a more difficult task than their previous two opponents, Schalke and Bayern.
Leverkusen currently hold a three-point advantage over second-place Werder, and will looking to continue setting the pace for the league after last weekend's blow-out win over Stuttgart.
Hannover coach Andreas Bergmann is missing striker Mikael Forssell as he recovers from a foot operation and Leon Andreasen who is still regaining his fitness, while American Sal Zizzo continues to be out in recovery from knee injury.
Leverkusen will continue to be without the midfield duo of Renato Augusto and Simon Rolfes, who are recovering from respective calf and knee operations.
St. Pauli – TuS Koblenz
David Yeldell and TuS Koblenz will have their work cut out for them on Saturday when they host second-place St. Pauli.
TuS Koblenz has been struggling all season long and has had troubles to turn in consistent performances from week to week. Things won't be any easier this week when offensive powerhouse St. Pauli comes to town.
With forward Marius Ebbers – who has scored nine times already – the team from Hamburg is leading the league in scoring with 33 goals. Yeldell and the Koblenz defense will have to be at their best if they want to keep St. Pauli in check.
Koblenz is still in a relegation play-off spot – a spot that they have come to call home in the last few weeks. If they aren't able to get some points from this weekend's match, it will become extremely difficult for them to find their way back to the middle of the standings.
St. Pauli will be without defender Florian Lechner, who must sit out due to suspension and midfielder Timo Schultz who is recovering from a knee injury.
Koblenz is still without defender Martin Hudec who is recovering from a broken ankle, Dominique Ndjeng and midfielder Lars Bender who are both sidelined with thigh problems.
Jermaine Jones returned to training this past week, but it is still unclear when he will be returning to action on the field. However, Schalke's game against last-place Hertha BSC on Sunday will definitely be too soon. Hertha's Bryan Arguez will not take part in the proceedings.
Kenny Cooper will once again have to watch from the stands when 1860 Munich travels to Oberhausen on Sunday. Cooper is still recovering from a knee injury that he picked up in training in November.
Luis Robles will take his usual spot on the bench when first-place Kaiserslautern takes on 13th place Hansa Rostock on Saturday.
After being excluded from the bench squad last week, Matthew Taylor will hope to get some minutes when struggling Frankfurt travels to Augsburg on Friday.
Ingolstadt defender Ian Joy will hope to get back onto the field when they try to hang on to their current second-place standing on their trip to Sandhausen on Saturday.