PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover will look to take a closer step to the Champions League while Edson Buddle and Ingolstadt have a tough task against Bochum if they hope to solidify their 2. Bundesliga status.
Hamburg - Hannover
Steve Cherundolo will once again be in the back line for Hannover when the team travels to Hamburg on Saturday.
If the team from Mirko Slomka plays their cards right, they will be competing in the Champions League next season - and Slomka has called for four wins in the next five games.
Defender Christian Schulz also has high hopes and was quoted in the German press this week saying that Hannover could be the next Bremen - the small team playing in the big leagues.
It's hard to comprehend now that this is practically the same team that was fighting for its upper-tier survival a year ago.
DaMarcus Beasley wasn't on the bench for 96 last week and his future with the club seems to be up in the air.
Slomka should have a full squad to choose from.
Hamburg will be without midfielder Änis Ben-Hatira, who is out on suspension and back-up goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny who is recovering from injury.
Kaiserslautern - Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler will most likely start in the back four for Nürnberg when the team travels to take on Kaiserslautern on Saturday.
Last week's comeback against Bayern Munich not only brought about the official firing of Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, but also kept Nürnberg in the hunt for qualification for international competition.
With just a handful of games left this season, Nürnberg is just two points away from the fifth place in the standings and a possible trip to the Europa League next season.
Forward Julian Schieber returned to action last weekend following his knee injury, but it might be too soon for him to be back in the starting line-up. The team is will be without defender Andreas Wolff who picked up his tenth yellow card last week and is serving a suspension. Forward Albert Bunjaku remains sidelined as he recovers from injury.
Kaiserslautern will be without forward Adam Nemec and midfielder Ivo Illicevic - both to injury.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - VfL Bochum
Edson Buddle will be looking to get the start on Friday evening when Ingolstadt hosts Bochum.
Ingolstadt was able to increase its unbeaten streak to six last week and will be hoping for another positive result this week at home. The team has managed to claw its way out of the relegation zone and every point will be important until the end of the season.
Bochum on the other hand is still in contention for one of the top three spots and a chance of returning to the Bundesliga. The team is still three points ahead of fourth-placed Fürth but will have to manage this weekend without a few regulars. Defender Matthias Ostrzolek and forward Mahir Saglik are both out on suspension and midfielder Mimoun Azaouagh is out with a torn muscle.
Ingolstadt is without midfielder Andreas Buchner who will most likely be out for the rest of the season. American defender Amaechi Igwe will be hoping to be included in the game-day squad.
Energie Cottbus - MSV Duisburg
David Yelldell will be in goal for Duisburg when the team travels to take on Cottbus on Sunday.
Both Duisburg and Cottbus seemed to be heading for a top three finish this season, but recent setbacks have put them down into the middle of the standings.
Cottbus has lost its last three and Duisburg has had to come up with answers for a string of recent personnel problems. Now it seems like getting promoted to the first league might be out of reach with only a few games left to play.
Duisburg is still without midfielders Julian Koch and Ivica Grlic, who have now been joined by forward Stefan Maierhofer and defender Bruno Soares on the injured list.
Cottbus should have a full squad to choose from.
SV Wehen Wiesbaden - Rot Weiss Ahlen
American forward Matt Taylor will try and lead the Ahlen attack when the team faces Wiesbaden on Saturday.
The win against Bayern Munich II wasn't enough to keep Ahlen out of the relegation zone. The team has lost three of its last four and is still behind Aalen in 18th place on goal difference.
Taylor hasn't scored in Ahlen's last four games and will have a tough time increasing his total for the year against Wiesbaden – one of the third league's best teams.
Ahlen should have a full squad to choose from and Wiesbaden will just be without midfielder Jan Fiesser.
Ricardo Clark will most likely start on the bench for Frankfurt on Saturday when the team takes on local rivals Hoffenheim. If, however, Sebastian Jung isn't able to play, the American midfielder might be called in to play on the back line.
Freiburg faces a tough test against league-leaders Dortmund Sunday and Daniel Williams will be looking to be included in the game-day squad.
Bobby Wood will be looking to get back in the mix when 1860 Munich travels to face FSV Frankfurt on Friday.
With Kristian Nicht still recovering from injury, Luis Robles might be called in again to play in goal for KSC on Monday evening when the team hosts Augsburg.