PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
A trio of US national players will be reunited this weekend in Germany when DaMarcus Beasley and Steven Cherundolo travel to Mönchengladbach to face Michael Bradley and the Foals.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Hannover 96
Steven Cherundolo will be in the backline and DaMarcus Beasley will be looking for minutes off the bench when Hannover 96 travels to take on Michael Bradley and last-place Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
Head coach Michael Frontzeck apparently needed a change of scenery after last week's dismantling at the hands of Dortmund, which is why he took his team across the border to the Netherlands for this week's training sessions.
But even that didn't work. The training field was so covered with snow and ice that the team had to head to be bussed back and forth across the border to train in Mönchengladbach. So much for new perspectives.
The Foals are going to be tested again when Hannover comes to town. The team from Mirko Slomka continues to surprise and is now, finally, getting production out of guys who were considered flops just a few months ago (see Mike Hanke and Jan Schlaudraff).
Gladbach is still looking for its first home win of the season and will have to plug the leaky defense if they want to survive a visit from 96.
Gladbach will still be without goalkeeper Logan Bailly, central defenders Dante and Roel Brouwers as well as long-term absentee Tony Jantschke who is recovering from a broken foot. In addition, midfielder Marcel Meeuwis is ill and will most likely have to pass.
Hannover's backup keeper Markus Miller suffered a knee injury in practice this week and will most likely be missing for several months.
The team is also without midfielder Sergio Pinto who is serving a suspension. Forward Mohammed Abdellaoue and midfielder Moritz Stoppelkamp will have to pass because of injury, along with long-time absentees Leon Andreasen and Carlitos.
MSV Duisburg - FSV Frankfurt
David Yelldell will once again be between the sticks for Duisburg when the team hosts FSV Frankfurt on Friday.
The Zebras' run at the top of the standings continued after last week's win against Hertha BSC. Duisburg is currently just one point behind league-leaders Aue in the standings and will be looking to be on top by the winter break.
But Frankfurt isn't far behind either – the club has quietly moved within striking distance of the top and will be looking to steal some points on the road.
Duisburg should have a full squad for the match and Frankfurt will just be without defender Marc Heitmeier, due to an Achilles' injury and midfielder Benjamin Pintol who has a knee injury.
Fortuna Düsseldorf - Karlsruher SC
Luis Robles will be in goal for KSC as the team travels to take on Fortuna Düsseldorf on Sunday.
Karlsruhe was finally able to get over the hump last weekend with its 4-0 win over Oberhausen.
Robles will be looking for another shut-out against a Düsseldorf team that has had problems scoring this season. With just 13 goals, only last-place Bielefeld has hit the back of the net less.
Another win would mean a lot for KSC – it would put them in front of Düsseldorf and at least one more spot away from the relegation zone.
KSC will be without Michael Mutzel, who has an ankle injury, Serhat Akin who has a thigh problem and Christian Timm who has a knee problem. The team will also be missing long-term absentees Niklas Tarvajärvi and Kristian Nicht.
Düsseldorf should have a full squad to choose from.
Rot Weiss Ahlen - Hansa Rostock
Matt Taylor and Rot Weiss Ahlen will try and get back to their winning ways when they host Rostock on Sunday.
Taylor and his teammates will have their work cut out for them with league-leaders Rostock. The team has been at or near the top of the standings since the beginning of the season and difficult to stop offensively, already netting 41 goals.
Ahlen will definitely have to look out for Björn Ziegenbein, who has been scoring at will. The young forward has already put in 10 goals in just 14 games.
Rot Weiss will only be without midfielder David Blacha, who has a knee injury.
Rostock will be travelling without goalie Jörg Hahnel, as well as a trio of defenders who are all recovering from injury: Stephan Gusche, Matthias Holst and Dexter Langen.
Jermaine Jones will not be in the squad when Schalke 04 hosts Bayern Munich on Saturday. The US midfielder is serving a league suspension due to too many yellow cards and has also been banned to Schalke's second team until the winter break by head coach Felix Magath.
Ricardo Clark will once again be looking for some minutes off the bench when Eintracht Frankfurt hosts Mainz 05 on Saturday.
Daniel Williams will be looking for some minutes when Freiburg hosts Hamburg on Saturday.
Kenny Cooper is in the last phase of recovery but will most likely have to watch from the stands when 1860 Munich takes on Hertha BSC at home on Sunday.
Amaechi Igwe is still recovering from injury and will miss out on Ingolstadt's away game to Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday.
Fabian Hürzeler will and Bayern Munich II's game against Unterhaching for Saturday has been postponed due to field conditions.