PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Danny Williams returns to Hoffenheim's lineup after serving a one-game suspension, while Andrew Wooten and John Anthony Brooks continue to earn playing time for Sandhausen and Hertha Berlin.
FSV Mainz 05 - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
After being suspended due to yellow card accumulation for Hoffenheim's last match, Danny Williams returns to the starting alonside Fabian Johnson in their match against Mainz Saturday.
Hoffenheim welcomes Williams' return at defensive midfielder after giving up a lead three times in a 3-3 tie to Greuther Fürth. The tie extended Hoffenheim's winless streak to three matches and has seen the team drop into 14th place.
Hoffenheim's opponent, Mainz, is going in the opposite direction as Hoffenheim. Mainz is riding a three-match unbeaten streak and has recorded 10 points in the team's last five matches, leading to a climb to eighth in the Bundesliga standings.
Midfielder Sejad Salihovic will miss once again for Hoffenheim, as he concludes his suspension from a red card, and Niko Bungert, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Eugen Polanski will miss for Mainz because of a cruciate ligament tear, a torn muscle fiber and a knee operation, respectively.
Eintracht Braunschweig - Hertha Berlin
John Anthony Brooks will start once again at center back for Hertha in an encounter of the top two teams in the 2. Bundesliga Saturday.
Fellow American defender Alfredo Morales will likely not feature for Berlin.
Brooks has started the last two matches for Berlin, and his performances continue to earn him more playing time. More importantly for his team, Hertha won both matches and now sits in second place in the German second division.
Brooks and Hertha will have their hands full against Braunschweig. The home team has a perfect record at home, winning all five matches thus far, and the team averages two goals a match at home.
Midfielder Ӓnis Ben-Hatira is out with a bruised ankle for Hertha, while midfielder Kevin Kratx will miss for Braunschweig because of a partial rupture of the syndesmosis.
SV Sandhausen - MSV Duisburg
The Andrew Wooten experiment at right midfielder continues, as Sandhausen hosts Duisburg Saturday.
After struggling to make appearances for Sandhausen, Wooten has started the last two matches, including against his parent team Kaiserslautern last weekend. The team is 1-1 with Wooten in the starting lineup, and the team now sits in 15th place.
Wooten and Co. could have a field day against last place Duisburg. Duisburg has allowed a league-high 21 goals this season and has a -8 goal differential on the road.
Julian Schauerte and Daniel Schulz will miss for Sandhausen because of convalescent leave and inguinal and adductor problems, while Duisburg is not reporting any injuries at this time.
Karlsruhe SC - Preußen Münster
In a matchup of a high-powered offensive machine against a brick wall, Matt Taylor and first place Münster travel to Karlsruhe Saturday.
Taylor leads the Eagles' high-flying offense and the 3.Bundesliga, amassing a league-high nine goals in 14 matches. Last time out, the American forward scored two goals in a 2-2 tie to Kickers Offenbach.
He shall be put to the test against Karlsruhe. The team has allowed a league-low nine goals thus far, and that is a major reason Karlsruhe currently sits in 10th place in the 3. Liga.
Karlsruhe will be without defender Martin Stoll because of a broken metatarsal bone, while Münster is not reporting any injuries at this time.
FC Saarbrücken - SV Darmstadt
Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt hope to climb out of the relegation zone with a win against Saarbrücken Saturday.
Darmstadt cannot find the back of the net much this season, tied for the fourth-worst goal scoring record at 13. The Lilies have scored more than one goal only three times this season, while being shut out five times.
Saarbrücken's defense has struggled this season, which could be good news for the Lilies. Saarbrücken has given up 23 goals, allowing four goals twice in the past four matches.
Forward Felix Dausend will miss for Saarbrücken due to inflammation of the pubic joint, while Darmstadt is not reporting any injuries.
Jermaine Jones looks to make a substitute appearance for high-flying Schalke against Nuremberg Saturday.
Captain Steve Cherundolo seems set to take a break and sit on the bench for Hannover against Mönchengladbach Sunday.
Goalkeeper David Yelldell will not feature for Leverkusen in its match against Bayern Sunday.
Joe Gyau will hope to feature for St. Pauli in its match against Dresden Sunday.
Royal-Dominique Fennel will start on the bench for the Stuttgarter Kickers in their match against Unterhaching Saturday.
Forward Jerome Kiesewetter continues to serve his suspension from a red card received before the international break and will not be available for Stuttgart II's match against Wacker Burghausen Saturday.