PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley will try and get their respective teams another step away from the relegation zone when Bundesliga play resumes this weekend.
FC Schalke 04 - Werder Bremen
Jermaine Jones will be anchoring the midfield for Schalke 04 when the team hosts Bremen on Saturday.
The big question is: When is Schalke going to start winning? This is a team playing in the Champions League and one that finished second last season. It is also a team that is currently in 16th place, unable to dig its way out of the bottom of the standings.
Head coach Felix Magath still seems to see this situation with a bit of humor. His answer to the current difficulties? Leading scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar just needs to find the back of the net more frequently.
Bremen hasn't looked any better though lately. Last week's tie to Frankfurt can even be considered a huge success when you consider the team's 6-0 drubbing the week before that.
Schalke's squad won't include Christian Pander, Tim Hoogland, Levan Kenia, Nicolas Plestan and Kyriakos Papadopoulos as they work their way back to fitness.
Werder Bremen will be without forward Claudio Pizarro, midfielder Tim Borowski and defenders Sebastian Boenisch and Naldo.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - 1. FSV Mainz 05
Michael Bradley and Borussia Mönchengladbach will be looking to keep the momentum from last week's win against rivals Cologne when they host Mainz on Saturday.
Every series must come to an end. Even miseries. And Gladbach is back in the business of winning after a drought that went back to August.
The team from Michael Frontzeck has looked much better the last two weeks and has remembered how to score goals – netting seven times in the last two games. However, the team still hasn't managed to win at home this season.
Mainz on the other hand is in the midst of a mini-crisis. The team that used to be on top has lost five of the last six and is currently seven points behind league-leaders Dortmund.
If Gladbach wants to prevail at home, the team will have to do it with a patchwork defense. Central defenders Dante and Roel Brouwers are out and long-term absentee Tony Jantschke is still recovering from a broken foot.
Mainz will just be without defender Bo Svensson who is out with a knee injury.
FC Augsburg - Karlsruher SC
Luis Robles will once again be in goal for Karlsruher SC when the team travels to take on Augsburg on Sunday.
It will be a tough test for KSC this weekend when the team takes on the sixth placed team in the 2. Bundesliga. Augsburg hasn't lost in its last four games and the team seems to have found its rhythm.
KSC on the other have been in a tailspin, managing to only pick up three points in its last eight games. The team has had a range of injuries across the board to deal with and things won't be any different this week.
Robles' backup Kristian Nicht is still recovering from a knee operation, Godfried Aduobe from an adductor pull, Marco Engelhardt from rib bruising, Serhat Akin from a thigh problem and striker Christian Timm from a knee problem. The team will also be missing long-term absentees Niklas Tarvajärvi and Massimilian Porcello.
Augsburg will be without defender Lukas Sinkiewicz, who is still working his way back to fitness as well as midfielders Marcel Ndjeng and Andrew Sinkala.
MSV Duisburg - Energie Cottbus
David Yelldell will once again be between the sticks for Duisburg on Monday night when they take on Energie Cottbus at home.
Both Duisburg and Cottbus are in contention for the league's promotion spots and this game could prove to be important in the race to move up.
Duisburg is just two points ahead of Cottbus and the team from Eastern Germany will be looking to get past them and into the top three.
The Zebras will be without Ivica Grlic is sidelined with a back issue, Sefa Yilmaz due to a knee injury and Srdjan Baljak with a foot problem. The team will also be missing Bruno Soares who is serving a suspension for last week's red card.
Cottbus will be without forward Dennis Sørensen and midfielder Rok Kronaveter.
Rot Weiss Ahlen - VfR Aalen
Matthew Taylor will hope to add some more goals to his account when Ahlen faces Aalen on Saturday in third-league play.
After having their game postponed due to weather - and more importantly - stadium conditions, Ahlen will be looking to continue their climb up the standings.
Facing bankruptcy and relegation, the team has managed to make it up to 10th place with three wins in a row. Taylor has proven to be a great signing. He is the team's leading scorer with six goals in nine games.
Aalen is just one point behind in the standings and will be looking to leapfrog Ahlen into the top half of the standings.
Ahlen will be without Andre Maczkowiak, Sebastian Ghasemi-Nobakht, Björn Kluft, Janis Kraus, Rouven Meschede and Cedric Mimbala.
Aalen will be missing two players due to suspension – Robert Lechleiter and Mario Hohn – as well as Marco Grüttner who has a fractured skull.
Ricardo Clark will be looking for minutes off the bench when Eintracht Frankfurt host Hoffenheim at home on Saturday.
Daniel Williams will most likely start on the bench when Freiburg hosts league-leaders Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Hannover 96 will take on Hamburg at home on Saturday without captain and American defender Stephen Cherundolo, as he sits out due to suspension. DaMarcus Beasley will most likely start on the bench for 96.
Kenny Cooper has returned to team training for 1860 Munich but won't be in the squad facing FSV Frankfurt on Sunday.
Amaechi Igwe is still working his way back to fitness and will not suit up for Ingolstadt on Saturday when they travel to Bochum.