PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and Hoffenheim search for their first points of the season, while Matt Taylor and Münster take on the top team in the German third division.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Hannover 96
Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams hope to jumpstart their team's season against the red-hot Steve Cherundolo and Hannover Sunday.
Shockingly, Hoffenheim's start has been horrible, losing all three games to start the 2012-2013 season. Hoffenheim's defense has struggled, allowing a league worst 11 goals, and has been a major factor as to why the team owns the league's worst goal differential (-7).
Hannover, meanwhile, has surprised everyone in the Bundesliga for the opposite reason. Hannover sits in third place, winning two of its first three games and tying the other, and its offense is tied for second-most in the Bundesliga (9). That tally should go up against Hoffenheim.
First-choice goalkeeper Tim Wiese will miss for Hoffenheim, as he recovers from a torn muscle fiber. Hannover will be without midfielder Szabolcs Huszti because of the yellow-red card he received in last Saturday's 3-2 over Werder Bremen.
Preußen Münster - Armina Bielefeld
Matt Taylor will start once again up top, as Münster hosts the 3.Bundesliga's top team in Bielefeld Saturday.
After scoring in three of his team's first four games, Taylor's goal-scoring has slowed, netting once in his last five. That hasn't stopped his team from shooting into third place in the 3.Budnesliga, making it a front-runner in the promotion race.
Bielefeld's numbers are similar to Münster, being tied with Münster for the best goal differential in the German third division (9). Bielefeld sits only two points above this week's opponents.
Münster is not reporting any significant injuries at this time. Defender Thomas Hübener will miss for Bielefeld because of a thigh strain.
Stuttgarter Kickers - 1. FC Saarbrücken
Royal-Dominique Fennell starts for the Kickers, as his team looks to continue its good start in the 3.Bundesliga against Saarbrücken.
After earning promotion into the third tier, Stuttgart has made its mark, beating first place Bielefeld earlier in the season. The Kickers sit in ninth place, recording 12 points through nine games.
Unfortunately for the Kickers, Saarbrücken plays better away from home. Although Saarbrücken owns the worst home record in the league, the team comes into the game with the seventh-best road record.
The Kickers are not reporting any injuries at this time. Defender Christian Eggert and midfielder Kevin Maek are out for Saarbrücken because of a torn muscle fiber and a calf injury, respectively.
SV Darmstadt 98 - VfB Stuttgart II
Normally a forward, Preston Zimmerman is set to play in the midfield for Darmstadt Saturday against Stuttgart II.
Forward Jerome Kiesewetter will probably not feature for Stuttgart II.
Zimmerman scored his first goal of the season last week against Halle to give his team a much-needed point from his usual forward position. However, he will move back into the midfield for this game, where he has played some already this year.
The Lillies still sit in 18th place and needs to record quite a few points to ensure safety this season, but Stuttgart II is no slouch. Based on record alone, Stuttgart has the best second team in Germany, sitting in sixth place in the German third tier.
Darmstadt is not reporting any injuries at this time, while forward Erich Berko will miss for Stuttgart II because of a partial tear of his cruciate knee ligament.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones is questionable for Schalke's showdown with German giant Bayern Munich Saturday after twisting his left foot at the end of Schalke's 2-1 win on Tuesday in Champions League play.
Forward Andrew Wooten will hope to feature for Sandhausen, when the team plays against Paderborn this weekend.
American Joe Gyau will hope to make St. Pauli's bench against Frankfurt Friday.
Defender Alfredo Morales might make Hertha Berlin's bench against Kaiserslautern Saturday.
Jared Jeffrey shouldn't feature for Mainz, when the team hosts Augsburg Saturday.
Goalkeeper David Yelldell will not feature for Bayer Leverkusen against Mönchengladbach Sunday.