PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones will be looking to get their Bundesliga teams back on track this weekend while two American goalkeepers face-off in second league action.
Borussia Mönchengladbach – Werder Bremen
Michael Bradley will try and help out a depleted Gladbach defense as the Foals host Werder Bremen on Saturday.
What exactly happened to the team that destroyed Bundesliga heavyweights Leverkusen back in August? Borussia Mönchengladbach hasn't won in its last six games and has only been able to get two points at home this season.
The biggest culprit has been the Swiss cheese defense. The Foals have let in a league-leading 23 goals and they haven't held a team to zero so far this year. Things won't be any easier this week when they will be forced to get creative on defense.
Gladbach will be without defenders Roel Brouwers and Sebastian Schachten who are sitting out suspensions, as well as kung-fu artist Juan Arango who will be missing the next four games. Defender Dante is still recovering from a foot injury and Christian Dorda from a torn patella tendon. Midfielder Tony Jantschke is also out as he recovers from a broken foot and Karim Matmour is still out with Achilles heel problems.
Bremen suffered two shocks this past week in the Champion's league: The team wasn't able to get a win against FC Twente and starting goalkeeper Tim Wiese suffered a phantom, non-contact knee injury and will be out for two weeks. Bremen is also without defenders Sebastian Boenisch and Naldo, both with knee injuries.
Eintracht Frankfurt – FC Schalke 04
Ricardo Clark will be looking to get back on the bench when the team takes on Jermaine Jones and Schalke on Saturday.
Ricardo Clark has had a rough season so far. He has seen just 15 minutes of action (spread over two games, mind you) and can't seem to get past Chris and Pirmin Schwegler in the pecking order.
With Frankfurt currently riding a three-game winning streak, head coach Michael Skibbe won't be looking to change anything. However, he has said to the media this week that his list of bench players is decided on a game-to-game basis. Apparently, with so many players healthy, it is hard for him to decide and Skibbe will have a full team to choose from this week as well.
Schalke is coming off a midweek Champion's League win against Happoel Tel Aviv and is probably hoping that it will jump-start their season. With his two goals in the Champion's League, Raul has become the competition's leading all-time scorer – but he has yet to score one in the Bundesliga. The team is currently in 16th place in the standings and in desperate need of a win.
Schalke is still without defenders Tim Hoogland and Christian Pander, who will miss the game with respective knee and muscular problems, as well as midfielder Levan Kenia, who is out with an ankle injury.
Hannover 96 – FC Cologne
Team captain Steven Cherundolo will once again anchor the Hannover defense and DaMarcus Beasley will be looking for minutes when the team hosts Cologne on Saturday.
American midfielder Maurice Edu scored a goal in the Champion's League this past weekend (actually, two). What does this have to do with the Bundesliga? The only other American to score in the Champion's League is currently warming the bench in Hannover. Will this be the week that DaMarcus Beasley injects life into the Hannover offense?
The team from Mirko Slomka has now lost two in a row for the first time this season and will not want to make it three. Slomka will once again have his preferred forward-duo of Didier Ya Konan and Mohammed Abdellaoue and will be looking to counter-attack against a Cologne team that will be more desperate for a win.
Many in the German media have said that this is a do-or-die week for Cologne head coach Zvonimir Soldo. The team has been hanging around in the relegation zone all season and has only managed to win one game.
Hannover is also still without midfielders Carlitos, Leon Andreasen and Altin Lala with respective knee, groin and hip injuries, as well as defender Mario Eggiman who is out with a hip injury. Defender Emanuel Pogatetz is also out with muscle problems, forward Mike Hanke will miss out with the flu and Karim Haggui won't be available due to suspension.
Cologne will line-up without defenders Kevin McKenna, Michael Schorch and Konstantinos Giannoulis, as well as forwards Sebastian Freis and Manasseh Ishiaku.
MSV Duisburg - Karlsruher SCb
The Americans will be in goal when David Yeldell and Duisburg host Luis Robles and Karlsruhe on Sunday.
Duisburg has had a great start to the season and is currently in third place in the standings. The team has only lost two this season and will be looking for another win against a Karlsruhe team that has fought its way into the middle of the standings.
Although the KSC allowed two goals last week against Bochum, the team is still satisfied with Luis Robles and his performance. And Robles will be looking for his first shut-out of the season to secure at least one point on the road.
KSC will be without goalie Kristian Nicht, defender Sebastian Langkamp, midfielder Massimillian Porcello and forward Niklas Tarvajärvi.
Duisburg is still missing Kevin Grund, who is recuperating from a knee problem and Adam Bodzek also working his way back to fitness. The team will also be without midfielder Mihai Tararache.
Bayern München II - Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor will be up front for Ahlen when the team travels to take on Bayern Munich's second team on Saturday.
It will be a real battle at the bottom when Ahlen heads to Bavaria this weekend. The two teams are neck and neck at the cut-off to the relegation zone and both are in desperate need of some points.
Taylor has had some good outings so far but hasn't hit the back of the net in the last four games.
Ahlen's starting keeper Andre Maczkowiak is still out with a leg problem, forward Sebastian Hille with a pulled muscle, midfielder Janis Kraus is out with an ankle injury, Rouven Meschede is out with a knee injury and Janis Kraus is out with a fractured ankle. In addition, Raphael Koczor and Kevin Wölk are both serving suspensions.
Bayern Munich II will be without Julian Leist and Christian Saba with muscle problems, David Alaba and Saer Sene who are recovering from knee injuries and Thomas Kurz with a broken jaw.
Daniel Williams hasn't played since the second game of the season and is still looking to be included in the starting line-up. He will most likely start on the bench when SC Freiburg hosts FC Kaiserslautern on Saturday.
Defender Amaechi Igwe is still recovering from a knee injury and will not be available for Ingolstadt when they host FSV Frankfurt on Saturday.
Kenny Cooper is working his way back from a broken ankle and will not take part 1860 Munich's game against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday