PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Michael Bradley and Borussia Mönchengladbach will try to slow down Bayern Munich in their race to the Bundesliga title while Steven Cherundolo's Hannover 96 fight for survival against Bayer Leverkusen.
Borussia Mönchengladbach – Bayern Munich
Michael Bradley will take his normal place in the center of the midfield when Borussia Mönchengladbach takes on red-hot Bayern Munich on Saturday.
After a poor showing last week against second-place Schalke 04, the Foals will have something to prove to their home fans this week against Bayern Munich.
One thing is certain: It will be very difficult to keep Bayern from scoring. The last time the team from Munich didn't put one in the back of the net in the Bundesliga was in October.
A 1-0 home win in the Champions League this past week has put even more wind in Bayern's sails. The team directed by head coach Louis van Gaal still has the opportunity to take home the triple in 2010: the Bundesliga title, the German Cup and the Champions League.
It will be interesting to see if the team can stay focused when playing against a very tough home team in Gladbach.
Michael Frontzeck will nearly have a complete squad to choose from, the only absence being Algerian winger Karim Matmour who picked up his fifth yellow card last week. Defender Filip Dames was in bed with fever this past week and might not be healthy enough to play.
Bayern Munich will only be missing midfielder and captain Mark van Bommel who picked up his 10th yellow card last week.
Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo will be in Hannover's back line as the team tries to salvage its first-league existence against a slumping Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
It was a crushing defeat to Bayern Munich last weekend for Hannover. Not only did it push the team back in the standings, but it also gave them the worst goal differential in the league.
If it ends up being a tie at the bottom of the standings, the Reds will look back on the Bayern game with plenty of regret.
Mirko Slomka will have to once again get creative when fielding his team – especially on offense. Didier Ya Konan has picked up an injury and will most likely be replaced by former German national team player Mike Hanke in the starting line-up.
It is hard to believe but Bayer Leverkusen, the team that was head and shoulders above the competition in the first half of the season, has only won two games in its last 10.
The team has slipped to fourth place and needs to win if it wants to play in European competitions next season.
In addition to Ya Konan, Hannover will be without the offensive duo of Elson and Kone as well as midfielder Jacek Krzynowek, whom are all sidelined with knee injuries.
Leon Andreasen is out with a muscle tear, Jan Rosenthal is still recovering from a hip problem and Altin Lala and Mikael Forssel are still in rehab.
All-rounder Constant Djakpa picked up his fifth yellow card last week and is serving a one week suspension. Additionally, American Sal Zizzo is still missing as he continues to recover from an ACL injury suffered during the fall.
Bayer Leverkusen is without star goalkeeper Rene Adler who has a couple of broken ribs.
The team will also be without midfielders Gonzalo Castro and Renato Agusto whmo are both out with injuries, as well as Simon Rolfes who is most likely out for the season.
In addition, Daniel Schwaab and Tranquillo Barnetta are serving suspensions.
Ricardo Clark will be hoping for his Bundesliga debut when Frankfurt travels to Mainz on Saturday. This week head coach Michael Skibbe stated that Clark would get an opportunity to play either this week or next. Jared Jeffrey will be looking to make the bench for Mainz.
Schalke will still be without Jermaine Jones when they take on last-place Hertha BSC on Saturday. The American midfielder has yet to return to training following his broken leg last year.
Defender Daniel Williams will be looking to get back into the mix for SC Freiburg when the team hosts last year's champions Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Goalkeeper David Yeldell is out for the season and will have to cheer from the sidelines when Koblenz fights for second-league survival against St. Pauli on Friday.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench when Kaiserslautern hosts Hansa Rostock on Friday.
Matt Taylor will be looking to make the bench when Frankfurt hosts Augsburg on Sunday.