PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
John Anthony Brooks should earn his first professional start for Hertha Berlin, while American forwards face off when Matt Taylor and Paderborn travel to Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt.
Hertha Berlin - SC Paderborn 07
John Anthony Brooks' long-waiting professional debut will occur Friday, as Hertha Berlin host Paderborn.
Fellow American defender Alfredo Morales will hope to make the bench for Hertha.
Yo-yoing back and forth between the German first and second divisions in the past four years, a Hertha Berlin collapse last season saw the team drop into the promotion playoff game, losing to Düsseldorf over two legs to set into stone its relegation fate.
With the usual exodus of players leaving the relegated team, current coach Jos Luhukay has decided to bring in a few of his youth players to the senior team, Brooks included. This, along with suspensions, has given the American the start.
Last season, Paderborn found itself in the middle of a promotion fight, only to finish one point behind Düsseldorf.
Hertha has a laundry list of injuries and suspensions, led by goalkeeper Thomas Kraft and Levan Kobiashvilli. Both are suspended because of actions taken during the chaos that ensued during the promotion playoff in May.
Defender Chritoph Janker will be out with adductor muscle problems, and forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga needs time to recover from a cruciate ligament tear.
Defender Markus Pallonis will miss for Paderborn, as he continues to recover from an undisclosed injury.
SV Darmstadt 98 - Preußen Münster
Preston Zimmerman and Matt Taylor will start for Darmstadt and Münster, respectively, in this matchup of American forwards on Friday.
Taylor returned to the 3.Bundesliga after spending last season in the 2.Bundesliga with Paderborn. His success in the German third division is well-known, scoring 17 goals in his only previous season.
This year, Taylor has already scored a goal in both games and is a big reason Münster lies in first place.
Zimmerman has yet to find the back of the net, but with his team goalless so far in the 2012-2013 season, Darmstadt needs him to find his scoring touch.
Darmstadt will miss forward Marcus Steegmann, who suffered a hernia injury and is returning to training.
Defender Clement Halet is out for Münster, as he continues to recover from adductor muscle problems.
1. FC Heidenheim - Stuttgarter Kickers
Royal-Dominique Fennell will earn his third start of the season as the Kickers search for their first win of the season Saturday.
The Kickers picked up its first point of the season last week but missed two penalties against Wiesbaden. The team currently occupies 15th place.
That first win may be difficult to get against Heidenheim, who has scored six goals thus far and is coming off a 4-0 shellacking of Rot-Weiß Erfurt.
Heidenheim will be without midfielder David Schittenhelm and forward Andreas Spann, both of whom are resting.
Defender Fabian Gerster is still recovering from a heel injury and will miss for the Kickers. Tobias Rühle will also miss for the Kicker because of muscular problems.
Andrew Wooten will likely be an option off the bench for Kaiserslautern on Monday evening when they begin life back in the 2. Bundesliga with a home game against FC Union Berlin.
Jerome Kieswetter is not expected to be in uniform for VfB Stuttgart II on Saturday afternoon when they host Karlsruher SC.