PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover highlight a busy weekend in Germany as they will hope to reverse course and climb back towards the top of the table in the Bundesliga.
Hannover – Wolfsburg
Steve Cherundolo will once again be captaining Hannover 96 on Saturday when the club hosts local rivals Wolfsburg.
It will be a new look for the Wolfsburg team when they travel to Hannover. Head coach Steve McClaren definitely has more offensive weapons to work with after signing Tuncay from Stoke City and Patrick Helmes from Leverkusen.
After starting 2011 with a bang with a 3-0 win against Frankfurt, Hannover has failed to find the back of the net and has slipped down to fifth place.
Wolfsburg hasn't lost in 10 games – but the McClaren's team has become the league's "tie" specialists. From those 10 games, they tied seven of them. History isn't on Hannover's side – 96 have lost the last six games against Wolfsburg and haven't won in the last eight.
DaMarcus Beasley hasn't seen any minutes since the winter break but will be looking to get involved on Saturday.
Hannover is still without season-long absences Leon Andreasen and Carlitos who are still working their way back to fitness and forward Jan Schlaudraff who has a muscle tear in his abdomen.
Wolfsburg will just be without midfielder Tolga Cigerci, who has a broken foot.
SC Paderborn 07 - Karlsruhe SC
Luis Robles will be between the sticks for KSC on Saturday when they travel to take on Paderborn.
Karlsruhe seems to be hovering above the relegation zone. The team just can't seem to break into the middle of the standings and away from danger. The win against Cottbus last week gave them some breathing room – now all they need is to leapfrog some of the competition.
Next on the list is Paderborn. The team has scraped its way up to 12th place but the team's performance could be best characterized as erratic. Sometimes good but mostly just inconsistent.
KSC still has a range of injuries to deal with. Midfielders Marco Engelhardt, Gaetan Krebs, and Michael Mutzel as well as defenders Christian Demirtas and Kiliann Witschi, and forwards Macauley Chrisantus and Christian Timm.
Paderborn will be missing forward Gaetano Manno and defender Christian Strohdiek.
MSV Duisburg - Erzgebirge Aue
Goalkeeper David Yelldell an MSV Duisburg will face a tough test against Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday.
The net "six-point" game is on the docket. With just two points separating the two teams in the standings, Duisburg has the chance to leapfrog Aue and potentially move back into second place.
Yelldell has had a good season for Duisburg so far, providing the last line of defense in both the league and Geman Cup. The key will be getting the Zebras offensive motor running again. Head coach Milan Sasic should have a full team to choose from.
Aue will be without defender Pierre le Beau who is serving a suspension and midfielder Oliver Schröder who has an ankle injury.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Arminia Bielefeld
Edson Buddle will be up front for Ingolstadt on Sunday when the team meets up with co-cellar dwellers Bielefeld.
Ingolstadt has just collected two points from the first three games of the second half of the season and the game against Bielefeld will be an important one. A win won't put them out of the relegation zone, but it will put some distance between them and last place.
The other new offensive addition, Caiuby, saw limited action last week for Ingolstadt. It will be interesting to see if he gets the chance to work more with Buddle up front.
American defender Amaechi Igwe is still out with a knee injury, but Ingolstadt should otherwise have a full squad.
Bielefeld will be without defender Nils Fischer, midfielder Franck Guela and forward Pavel Fort.
SV Babelsberg 03 - Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor will be in the starting line-up for Ahlen when the team travels to take on Babelsberg on Saturday.
Taylor added another goal to his account last week to help salvage a point against Unterhaching. Even if it was a penalty, the American forward looks to be the only source of offense for the team.
Babelsberg is dangerously close to the bottom three of the standings and will be doing all they can to stay away from the relegation zone.
There is only four points separating the 10th place team from the relegation zone in the 3. Bundesliga – so every point counts.
Ahlen will be without Cedric Mimbala, Janis Kraus and Rouven Meschede.
Babelsberg will just be without Ronny Surma, who is serving a suspension.
Timothy Chandler will be on the bench for Nürnberg Saturday when the team hosts Leverkusen.
Both Daniel Williams and Ricardo Clark will miss out on the action on Sunday when Freiburg host Frankfurt. Williams is recovering from a knee injury and Clark broke his cheekbone in practice last week.
Alfredo Morales will hope to be a part of Hertha BSC's squad on Saturday when the team hosts city rivals Union Berlin.
Bobby Wood will be hoping to make the squad for 1860 München when the team hosts Fortuna Düsseldorf on Monday.
Fabian Hürzeler will hope to be included in Bayern Munich II's squad that travels to face Eintracht Braunschweig in 3. Bundelisga action.