PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt hit the road to face Hamburg while Steve Cherundolo and Hannover welcome in a now Jermaine Jones-less Schalke.
Hamburger SV - Eintracht Frankfurt
Ricardo Clark will play the part of central defender once again as injury-stricken Frankfurt travels to take on Hamburg on Friday.
After his defensive debut last weekend in a 3-0 loss to Hannover, Clark will be looking to make amends against Hamburg. The two teams are neck and neck in the Bundesliga standings. A win would mean that either of the two could move closer to those elusive top spots for European competition.
Hamburg hasn't necessarily been the super power that many expected this season. The team has had its share of losses (seven) and is still looking for the offense to really get moving.
Frankfurt will be without defenders Chris, Maik Franz, Marco Russ and Aleksandar Vasoski, who are sidelined with injuries, as well as Kevin Kraus who is ill. The team will also be missing midfielder Pirmin Schwegler, who is serving a suspension.
Hamburg has its own share of injury problems and won't be able to call upon defenders Collin Benjamin, Dennis Diekmeier, Joris Mathijsen, midfielder Marcell Jansen and forward Paolo Guerrero. They will also be without David Jarolim who his out on suspension and Son Heung Min who is playing in the Asia Cup.
Hannover 96 - FC Schalke 04
Steve Cherundolo will once again be in the backline for Hannover 96 on Saturday when the team tries to solidify its place at the top against a Jermaine Jones-less Schalke 04.
It definitely has been a tale of two seasons. Just a year ago, the fate of these two teams had been reversed. It was Hannover that was struggling at the bottom of the standings and Schalke that was planning with a Champions League spot.
Hannover's second half has started just like the first. The team is effective up front and organized on defense.
The Schalke offense has struggled at times this season and the team went out empty-handed last weekend against Hamburg. It will be interesting to see if head coach Felix Magath tries to attack or wait out the storm.
American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley is still out with a slight injury and won't be suiting up for 96. Other than that, head coach Mirko Slomka only has season-long absences Leon Andreasen and Carlitos still working their way back to fitness.
Schalke will be without defender Tim Hoogland, who hasn't played yet this season, and Atsuto Uchida, who is with the Japanese team at the Asia Cup.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - MSV Duisburg
Edson Buddle is in the hunt for a place in the starting line-up on Friday when Ingolstadt hosts David Yelldell and MSV Duisburg.
Word is still out on Freddy Adu. The 21-year-old has been training for about two weeks with Ingolstadt but no decisions have been made. The one thing that is clear is that Ingolstadt is looking for someone who can help right away and for someone who will stay with the club for at least a year.
The good news is that Buddle has officially been released by MLS, has overcome his jetlag and is ready to make his debut in Germany against fourth-placed Duisburg.
It looks as if Ingolstadt will still be without their other new signee Arthur Wichniarek. The forward has been plagued with back problems and might not be fit in time. The team is also without American defender Amaechi Igwe who is still in rehab following his knee injury.
The Zebras will only be missing forward Srdjan Baljak who is out with a calf problem.
Alemannia Aachen - Karlsruher SC
Karlsruhe and goalkeeper Luis Robles will be on the road on Saturday when the team takes on Aachen.
KSC has fallen back into 16th place and this week's game against Aachen – sitting in the middle of the standings – could be a good chance to get some points.
With Ingolstadt and Bielefeld locked in the relegation zone, there is no immediate danger of falling any further, but Karlsruhe would like to increase the buffer between them and the bottom.
Aachen has recently signed Sergio Radu and the Romanian forward might get his first minutes for the yellow and black this weekend.
Aachen will be without defenders Nico Herzig and Stefan Müller – both with knee problems – as well as midfielder Thomas Zdebel and forward Alper Uludag.
Karlsruhe will be without newly-signed defender Killiann Witschi, midfielder Godfried Aduobe and forward Macauley Chrisantus – all due to injury. The team will also be missing Alexander Iashvili who is serving a suspension.
Timothy Chandler will most likely be in the bench for FC Nürnberg when the team travels to take on SC Freiburg on Saturday. The German-American made his debut for the first team as a late sub in Wednesday's German Cup match. Freiburg will be without Daniel Williams who is out with knee injury for the next few months.
After being replaced in the line-up last weekend by, Michael Bradley will most likely start on the bench when Borussia Mönchengladbach hosts Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. The American midfielder refused to comment this week on rumors that he would be moving to Premier League club Sunderland.
Alfredo Morales will be looking for playing time on Sunday when Hertha BSC hosts Fortuna Düsseldorf in the German capital.
Just as one American leaves, another is there to take his place. Bobby Wood will most likely get his first call-up for the 1860 Munich's first team when they travel to take on VfL Osnabrück on Friday.
3. Bundesliga won't be back in action until next weekend.