PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Tim Chandler and Nürnberg visit first-place Bayern in a heated derby match while Luis Robles will see his first action in goal for Karlsruhe during their trip east to Dynamo Dresden.
FC Bayern - FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler will be in the starting lineup for FC Nürnberg on Saturday when they face their toughest test of the season in the Allianz Arena against league leaders FC Bayern.
Both teams are heading into the game riding momentum from German Cup wins in the midweek, although Bayern had a far easier time in their outing.
They rode a second-half explosion to defeat northern neighbors FC Ingolstadt by a 6-0 margin, while Nürnberg were forced to sweat out a late comeback attempt to score a 2-1 road win over Aue.
Prior to that, each is coming off of disappointing performances in Bundesliga play, with Bayern having suffered their first loss of the season with a 2-1 defeat at Hannover, while Nürnberg twice allowed Stuttgart to come back from a goal down to earn a draw in the Frankenstadion.
Nürnberg are still forced to depend on the hands of third-string keeper Alexander Stephan as Raphael Schäfer and Patrick Rakovsky are still sidelined with injuries.
Additionally, midfielder Per Nilsson is still working to gain match fitness after a summer injury, and left back Javier Pinola is set to miss the game with a muscle strain in his hip, forward Christian Eigler is out with an ankle injury, and starting midfielder Markus Feulner has a pulled muscle in his thigh.
The most notable absence for Bayern is Arjen Robben, who will be out for several weeks after undergoing an operation to repair a persisting muscular problem in his groin. In addition, defender Jerome Boateng is on a red card suspension and defender Breno is still recovering from a pre-season injury.
FC Schalke 04 - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
The German-American invasion will take over Schalke's Veltins Arena on Saturday afternoon, as Danny Williams and Fabian Johnson are expected line up in Hoffenheim's midfield in direct opposition to Königsblauen defensive midfielder Jermaine Jones.
Schalke's late Cup win on Wednesday night over Karlsruher continued their strong run across all competitions, where they have won six of their last seven in Bundesliga, German Cup and Europa League play.
Jones has returned to the fold for the Königsblauen to establish himself an instrumental part of their run, putting in several strong performances in the midfield for head coach Huub Stevens to help the team limit the scoring chances of the opposition.
He will be facing off against a pair of his international teammates as both Williams and Johnson should be starting in Hoffenheim's midfielder.
The Hoffe rode a second-half winner over Cologne to advance to the third round of the cup during the week, and are hanging around the pack of teams challenging for the Europa League spots.
Hoffenheim have no key players out for the game, with defender Matthias Jaissle being the only absence as he is recovering from surgery on his Achilles tendon.
For the hosts, starting keeper Ralf Fährmann is out for the long-haul as he recovers from ACL surgery, putting either Lars Unnerstall or new signing Timo Hildebrand between the sticks.
Otherwise, the only notable absence for the team is that of forward Ciprian Marica, who will miss the game with a thigh problem.
Dynamo Dresden - Karlsruher SC
Luis Robles will finally get his chance in the Karlsruhe goal on Saturday in place of injured starter Dirk Orlishausen, as they try to escape the relegation zone on their trip to Dynamo Dresden.
Orlishausen injured his shoulder in the closing minutes of the team's Wednesday-night cup loss to Schalke, and while able to finish out the game, he is expected to miss several weeks to fully recover, putting the American back in the limelight.
He comes into a Karlsruhe team in crisis which has not won since the early weeks of the season and is looking headed towards another long relegation battle.
Their task on Saturday won't be any easier against a promoted Dynamo Dresden team which has done surprisingly well for themselves in their first season back at this level.
While they were decisively kicked out of the German Cup during the week by a hot Borussia Dortmund team, they have still amassed 15 points through their first 13 game, and have proven they can be a thorn in the side of even the top teams in the division.
Dresden also find themselves without their number-one in goal as Dennis Eilhoff is set to miss several weeks with an ankle injury. Otherwise, their only other major absence is that of midfielder Giannis Papadopoulos, who is recovering from an adductor strain.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Eintracht Frankfurt
Edson Buddle and Ingolstadt will do their best to get past their midweek Cup drubbing at the hands of Bayern when they host a strong Eintracht Frankfurt team on Sunday.
Frankfurt midfielder Ricardo Clark has not been included in the roster since the early weeks of the season and is not expected to make the trip to Ingolstadt.
Ingolstadt are still reeling from Wednesday's 6-0 loss at the hands of the German giants, and with the team in the midst of a five-game losing streak and in last place, this game against one of the division favorites couldn't have come at a worse time.
As matters stand, a win could theoretically free the Schanzer from the bottom three all-together, but they will need to quiet the Moody Diva, who apart from their overtime German Cup loss to Kaiserslautern have won five straight in league play.
Ingolstadt have a trio of players out; starting central defender Marino Biliskov is recovering from an ankle problem, Danish midfielder Kristoffer Andersen from a meniscus injury, and midfielder Leonhard Haas is still not ready to return to the field after a long absence.
Frankfurt have a full squad available for the game.
David Yelldell watched from the Bayer Leverkusen bench as they scored a tight 1-0 road win over SC Freiburg on Friday.
Steve Cherundolo is suspended for yellow card accumulation and will not take part when Hannover visit Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
Terrence Boyd will hope to make the Borussia Dortmund bench on Saturday when they visit VfB Stuttgart.
Alfredo Morales could be included on Hertha's bench on Saturday when they visit VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Matt Taylor will hope to see substitute minutes for Paderborn on Saturday on their visit to Erzgebirge Aue.
Bobby Wood has finally begun to earn playing time for 1860 Munich's first team and could see substitute minutes on Sunday for their visit to MSV Duisburg.
Amaechi Igwe will hope to see substitute minutes for Babelsberg on Saturday when they host VfL Osnabrück.
Preston Zimmerman will be on Darmstadt's bench on Saturday for their visit to Rot-Weiß Oberhausen.