PREVIEW: MIDWEEK GERMAN ACTION
David Yelldell and Duisburg will like their chances to pull an upset at home over Kaiserslautern to reach the German Cup semifinal while Matt Taylor and Ahlen hit the road for 3. Liga action in Bremen.
MSV Duisburg - FC Kaiserslautern
David Yelldell will be manning the nets for Duisburg on Tuesday night when they try to give downtrodden visitors Kaiserslautern yet another kick in their German Cup quarterfinal match.
Kaiserslautern found themselves at the wrong end of a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of FC Bayern over the weekend, a result which surely erased any residual positive feeling left with the team after they had blown past 3. Liga team Koblenz in the German Cup just days before.
While Duisburg's last outing ended in a 1-1 draw in Ingolstadt, they will still feel good about the prospects of pulling an upset over a team in Germany's top tier, where they themselves are aiming to play next season.
The game could also provide Duisburg coach Milan Sasic a chance to exact a measure of revenge on a team which fired him just prior to the end of the 2008-09 season as the team were in the midst of a promotion hunt.
The quick-tempered coach has faced Kaiserslautern at the helm of Duisburg one time since his dismissal, however the 1-1 draw last February will have done little to abate any ill residual feelings he may have for the Kaiserslautern organization.
Sasic could be without two important starters for the game, with the participation of both Srdjan Baljak and Julian Koch in question and to be determined shortly before gametime.
Kaiserslautern are reporting no significant absences from their traveling squad.
Werder Bremen II - Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor will look to add to his impressive scoring record with Ahlen on Tuesday night when they head north to take on the 3. Liga's last-place team Werder Bremen II.
Tuesday's game was originally scheduled to be played in mid-December however like most of the league's games in the month was pushed back in the face of heavy snowfall throughout the country. While near-freezing temperatures and possible rainfall are sure to make playing conditions in Bremen less than ideal, the contest is still expected to proceed, for what is just the second game in a grueling stretch for Ahlen which sees seven over a 21-day span.
Despite being on the losing end of Saturday's high-flying 3-2 encounter with Koblenz, Ahlen's outlook is still considerably brighter than just a few months before, and it would hard to not attribute much of the turnaround to their American signing.
Three months ago they were skirting the relegation zone with just one win through their first 12 games and furthermore facing a possible bankruptcy, however have come on strongly in the time since, winning four of six, with Taylor netting six times in those games.
His eight goals in 12 games played gives him the third best goals-per-game strike rate in the league, and if he keeps up the past through the rest of the season he will most likely have a number of teams in the division and in the 2. Bundesliga ringing him up in the offseason.
Ahlen is coming off of a loss in last weekend's make-up game against Taylor's previous team Koblenz, however should have an easier time with an awful Bremen II squad which has managed just three wins and a paltry 16 points from their first 19 games to sit last place in the division.
Ahlen will be without several players; Janis Kraus and Björn Kluft continue to be absent with long-term injuries, Rouven Meschede is out with a muscular problem and both Luka Tankulic and Basti Ghasemi are questionable for the game.
Timothy Chandler will look for his third straight appearance with Nürnberg on Tuesday when they visit Schalke in the quarterfinal of the German Cup.