PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Timothy Chandler will square off when Hannover visits Nürnberg while Matt Taylor and Paderborn will try to get back on the winning track when they host Fürth.
FC Nürnberg - Hannover 96
Hannover and Nürnberg will both look to extend their winning start to the season as Steve Cherundolo and Timothy Chandler meet in the showdown of American right backs on Saturday.
Both teams got their seasons off on the right foot in the opening week, with Hannover scoring early and hanging on for the win at home over Hoffenheim, and Nürnberg overcoming promoted Hertha on the road in the final minutes.
For Hannover, team captain Steve Cherundolo, who had missed much of the preseason with injury, did not take the field in the win, however a 90-minute shift for the US National Team in their Wednesday friendly against Mexico showed that he will be ready to go on Saturday.
While fellow American international Chandler was dropped from the US lineup to avoid stressing a slight knee injury, he did play the full game for Nürnberg in last weekend's win, and will be in the team's starting lineup on Saturday.
Hannover will likely have one eye on what will be a daunting Thursday-night match at home against Spanish team Sevilla in the final round of Europa League qualifying, and will hope to avoid the injury bug which has bitten them early and often in the previous two seasons.
Nürnberg are missing Swedish midfielder Per Nilsson with an Achilles injury, plus midfielders Mike Frantz and Manuel Zeitz who are working their way back from injuries.
Hannover are without long-term injuries Leon Andreasen and Carlitos, and must still wait on Polish newcomer Artur Sobiech to make his debut for the team as the striker is regaining his fitness from a knee injury.
SC Paderborn 07 - SpVgg Greuther Fürth
Matt Taylor will look to earn substitute minutes for Paderborn when they try to get over last weekend's blowout on Saturday against visiting Fürth.
Taylor earned his first league start for his new team last weekend, however was subbed out after an overall sub-par performance from the entire team on the way to their 3-0 loss on the road to Union Berlin.
Even with the loss, the four points picked up in their first two games - with their second-week draw coming thanks to Taylor's scoring touch - has kept them with a slight cushion above the lower reaches of the league.
They will hope to get back on the winning track against a strong Fürth team which is expecting to once again challenge for promotion, and has been strong on the attack with seven goals through three games.
Fürth are missing no players who have contributed so far this season, although forward Kingsley Onuegbu and defender Christian Dorda are still out and awaiting their season debuts, the latter as he recovers from wisdom tooth removal.
Paderborn must make do without starting defender Florian Mohr, who will be out for some time to recover from meniscus surgery.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - FSV Frankfurt
Edson Buddle could be rested on Sunday after returning from international duty when Ingolstadt meet FSV Frankfurt with both teams still looking for their first win of the season.
Buddle will only have a short time to recover after playing one hour under new US head coach Jürgen Klinsmann on Wednesday against Mexico, which could pave the way for the debut of new Tunisian striker Ahmed Akaichi.
Whether it comes in the form of changing up his attack or making adjustments elsewhere on the field, Ingolstadt head coach Benno Möhlmann has to find some answers for a poor opening three games for the Schanzer which has yielded only one point.
This leaves them next to last in the 2. Bundesliga standings, and should they not find a way to turn things around against Frankfurt - who are situated just one point above - it could be an ominous sign of a long season to come.
Frankfurt have been almost as ineffectual in their first three contests, scoring a grand total of one goal on the way to a pair of draws and a loss.
The team which has consistently struggled against the drop in its three seasons in Germany's second tier could see their luck finally run out should they be unable to find a way to add some spark to their attack.
Ingolstadt will still be without starting outside defender Andreas Görlitz while he recovers from a pulled muscle suffered in their second game, while Frankfurt have no notable absences to their traveling squad.
SV Babelsberg 03 - FC Saarbrücken
Amaechi Igwe should get the starting nod on the left side of Babelsberg's defense on Saturday when they host undefeated Saarbrücken.
After missing their opening game while getting his work permit sorted, Igwe has gone on to play the full 90 minutes in their three contests since, and looks to be the team's first-choice left back.
Entering their second season in the 3. Liga, Babelsberg has done respectably well, going undefeated through their first three games, most recently hanging on for a hard-fought point in the southeastern corner of Germany last weekend against Wacker Burghausen.
This has been enough to put them ninth in the standings, and Saturday's game will have them facing off against Saarbrücken, who is trailing only by goal differential.
The hosts will only be missing midfielder Christian Groß, who is out for the long-haul with a torn ACL.
For Saarbrücken, no players who have taken part in the current season are missing, although striker Giuseppe Pisano and defenders Otto Alexander and Lukas Kohler are recovering from pre-season injuries and will not take the field.
Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick has indicated that he is planning on sitting Jermaine Jones on Saturday for their home game against Cologne so allow the defensive midfielder to rest up after international duty.
Alfredo Morales should be on Hertha's bench on Saturday when they visit Hamburger SV. Hertha central defender John Anthony Brooks is still recovering from a pre-season injury and will likely be spending time with their U23 team once he has returned to full health.
Daniel Williams is currently locked in a contract dispute with Freiburg and will likely not be included in the squad that will host FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday afternoon.
Michael Bradley is an unwanted man at Borussia Mönchengladbach and will not be included in the team's squad on Saturday when they host VfB Stuttgart.
David Yelldell will likely watch from the bench on Sunday afternoon as Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt continues his merry-go-round of keepers when the team hosts Werder Bremen.
Luis Robles will watch from the Karlsruhe Bench on Friday afternoon as backup keeper when they host 2. Bundesliga newcomers Eintracht Braunschweig.
Bobby Wood will hope to be included on 1860 Munich's bench once again on Sunday when they host Erzgebirge Aue.
Ricardo Clark will almost certainly begin Eintracht Frankfurt's game against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Monday on the bench, but will hope to see substitute minutes in the midfield or defense.
Preston Zimmerman has been an unused substitute for Darmstadt's previous two games, and will hope to break the streak and get an appearance on Saturday when they host Arminia Bielefeld.