PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo will likely make his return to the starting line-up when Hannover 96 host FC Cologne while David Yeldell will be between the sticks when TuS Koblenz tries to climb out of the relegation zone.
Hannover 96 – FC Cologne
Steve Cherundolo will most likely make his return to the starting backline as Hannover 96 takes on FC Cologne at home on Saturday.
It hasn't been easy for Hannover this year. The team has had to fight with injuries at nearly every position, as well as having to deal with the death of one of the team's most beloved players.
Following the winter break, with the addition of a string of new players and a new coach, people were expecting a huge turn-around.
However, the team has just six points from the last 10 games. Now, heading into the last two months of the season, the team is sitting in 16th place in the standings and can't seem to get away from the relegation zone.
FC Cologne has had its share of problems as well, with most of coming down to consistency. The team played brilliantly against marquis opponents like Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, but can't seem to get things going otherwise.
Now, after spending a few weeks creeping towards the top of the standings, the team is in danger of slipping into relegation territory.
As usual, head coach Mirko Slomka has a number of injuries to deal with heading into this week's game. Midfielders Elson and Jacek Krzynowek, forward Arouna Kone and all-rounder Constant Djakpa are all sidelined with knee injuries.
Jan Rosenthal is still recovering from a hip problem and Altin Lala and Mikael Forssel are still in rehab. Additionally, Sal Zizzo is still missing as he continues to recover from an ACL injury suffered during the fall.
Cologne will be without its defensive stalwart Pedro Geromel, who is suspended for one game after picking up his fifth yellow card last week.
The team is also without the young trio of defender Michael Schorch and midfielders Tanner Yalcin and Adil Chihi. Lukas Podolski might not make the bench after suffering a tear to his abdominal muscle this week.
MSV Duisburg – TuS Koblenz
Even after two wins in a row, the scenario for David Yelldell and TuS Koblenz hasn't changed as they face another must-win situation against MSV Duisburg on Friday.
Koblenz has managed to breathe some life into the season in the two months since the winter break. The team is in dire need of points and a win away to MSV Duisburg could potentially put them into the play-off relegation spot and out of the automatic drop zone.
The team from Duisburg has lost its last two games, but is still sitting comfortably in sixth place in the standings. After a promising start to the season, the chance of moving back up to the top flight has become relatively slim.
After a long absence, Koblenz defender Martin Hudec will most likely be back on the bench after missing most of the season with an ankle injury.
Midfielder Zoltan Stieber is still out with a hip problem and Philipp Langen is out with a hand injury. Midfielder Everson will be serving his suspension for picking up his fifth yellow card.
Duisburg should have a nearly full squad, the only absentees being midfielders Änis Ben-Hatira and Mihai Tararache.
After picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against FC Cologne last week, Michael Bradley will be watching from the stands this Sunday when Borussia Mönchengladbach host Hamburg. The break will give him a little extra time to recover from a broken nose that he suffered during training on Wednesday.
Ricardo Clark will be looking for his first Bundesliga minutes when Frankfurt travel to take on Bochum on Friday.
Jared Jeffrey will most likely be on the bench for Mainz again when the club hosts Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Defender Daniel Williams will be looking to get back into the mix for SC Freiburg when they travel to Hoffenheim on Sunday.
FC Schalke 04 will travel to first-place Bayer Leverkusen without Jermaine Jones on Saturday as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench when Kaiserslautern hosts 1860 Munich on Monday.
Matt Taylor will most likely not feature when Frankfurt takes on Union Berlin on Friday.