PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo, DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Bradley all face tough tests for their respective teams and Jermaine Jones should return to action for Schalke.
FC Schalke - FC St. Pauli
After a slight injury kept him out last weekend, Jermaine Jones is expected to back in the starting line-up on Friday when Schalke host St. Pauli.
It was a lackluster week for Felix Magath's team. They are back in second-to-last place in the league standings after a loss to Leverkusen last weekend and just managed a draw against Tel Aviv in midweek Champion's League action.
Magath, the Bundesliga guru, has not yet been put in the firing line but is being asked more and more to provide answers for this dip in play.
St. Pauli has made good use of two Schalke castaways – Gerald Asamoah and Carlos Zambrano – and the team has to be satisfied with their return to the big leagues thus far.
It's interesting to note that Germany's "cult" team has just two roster spots going to non-German players – something that is almost unheard of in this day and age.
Schalke will be without Tim Hoogland and Christian Pander who still aren't ready to make their primetime debuts following injury.
St. Pauli will be without forward Asamoah, who is serving a suspension, Richard Sukuta-Paso and midfielder Charles Takyi.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Bayern Munich
Michael Bradley and Gladbach will try and keep the wheels from coming off when the team hosts Bayern Munich on Saturday.
The good news coming out of Mönchengladbach this week is that two of its young stars – midfielders Marco Reus and Patrick Hermann – have signed extensions and will be staying with the club.
But that's about it for good news. The team is sitting at the bottom of the standings with a difficult schedule ahead of them.
Bayern Munich will definitely have their chances against the worst defense in the league. The team is also expected to have offensive threat Franck Ribery back on the bench as the Frenchman looks for his first action in months.
Goalkeeper Logan Bailly is back from Belgium but will be starting on the bench.
Gladbach will also be without defenders Dante, who is recovering from a foot injury, Christian Dorda who has a torn patella tendon and Juan Juares.
Midfielder Tony Jantschke is also out as he recovers from a broken foot and Karim Matmour is still out with Achilles heel problems. Juan Arango is still sitting out due to suspension and he will be joined by midfielder Thorben Marx.
Bayern Munich is still missing midfielder Arjen Robben and defender Breno. The team is also without the German forward Miroslav Klose and the Croatian forward Ivica Olic – the latter could be missing up to six months with a knee injury.
Hannover 96 - Borussia Dortmund
Steve Cherundolo, DaMarcus Beasley and Hannover 96 will try and slow down Dortmund when the two teams face off on Sunday.
The Dortmund express heads to Hannover this weekend after shooting down nearly every team in its path.
The team's only loss was in the first game of the season and they looked good last weekend when they put away former league leaders Mainz.
Hannover's season has been up and down as the team has struggled with consistency and injuries – which has come to be the team's M.O. in the last two years.
Hannover is without defender Emanuel Pogatetz with a muscle tear, as well as long time absentees Leon Andreasen and Carlitos. The team will also be missing the young midfielder Manuel Schmiedebach who is serving a suspension.
Dortmund will be without defender Patrick Owomoyela with an Achilles heel injury as well as long-time absentees Sebastian Kehl, Florian Kringe, Mohamed Zidan and Tamas Hajnal.
MSV Duisburg - Greuther Fürth
David Yelldell will once again be between the sticks when Dusiburg hosts Fürth on Saturday.
One unfortunate goal was enough to put a stop to Duisburg's four-game winning streak on Monday – and that, to one of the league's worst teams. The competition will most likely be a little more difficult this coming weekend when the Zebras host fourth-placed Fürth.
You could call this Fürth's "difficult" section of the season. In the last two weeks the team went up against and lost to the league's top two teams. And now they face Duisburg – currently in third place.
The team will be hoping for a better result so that they can edge past Duisburg in the standings.
Duisburg will just be missing forward Srdjan Baljak with an ankle injury.
Greuther Fürth will be without defender Stephan Schröck with a knee injury, midfielder Tayfun Pektürk with a foot injury and forward Christopher Nöthe with a shoulder injury.
VfL Osnabrück - Karlsruher SC
Luis Robles will be in goal for Karlsruhe when the team goes on the road to face Osnabrück on Monday.
With a week of turmoil behind them, Karlsruhe will be looking to make a move for the middle of the pack. After last weekend's loss to 1860 Munich, Markus Schupps was fired as head coach only to be replaced by another Markus – this one with the last name Kauczinski.
Osnabruck is also near the bottom of the standings after managing just one win in four games.
KSC will be without goalkeeper Kristian Nicht, as well as Niklas Tarvajärvi, Christian Demirtas, Sebastian Langkamp, Massimilian Porcello, Stefan Rieß and Christian Timm
Osnabruck should have a full squad.
After seeing two minutes of playing time last weekend, Ricardo Clark will be looking to get back on the field when Frankfurt hosts Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Daniel Williams will most likely start on the bench when Freiburg hosts Mainz on Saturday.
American defender Amaechi Igwe is still recovering from a knee injury and will not be available for Ingolstadt when they host Cottbus on Friday.
Kenny Cooper has returned to training after his broken ankle but won't be fit in time to face Aachen on Sunday. The team's physiotherapist is optimistic that he should be able to play by the end of the month.
In third league action, Matt Taylor will once again be up front for Ahlen when the team plays away to Regensburg on Saturday. Ahlen has back-to-back wins and is looking to make a move into the middle of the standings.