MATHEW WAGNER - Thursday, August 29, 2013
John Anthony Brooks looks to rebound from a short outing last weekend, while Royal-Dominique Fennell might make his first start in 2013.
VfL Wolfsburg - Hertha Berlin
After an early exit last year, Hertha coach Jos Luhukay should reinstate John Anthony Brooks to the starting lineup when Berlin travels to Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Brooks started at center back last week but left after just 22 minutes in favor of ex-captain Peter Niemeyer. Original reports indicated that Brooks had a thigh injury, but Luhukay said it was a tactical move after the match. Whatever the reason, Berlin media expects the 20-year old to start this week.
The start to the season has been a bag of mixed results for Wolfsburg, which has picked up three points and sits in ninth place. A pair of 2-0 losses to Hannover and Mainz have sandwiched a 4-0 shellacking of Schalke.
Hertha Berlin will be without Marcel Ndjeng and Pierre-Michel Lasogga because of toe and ankle injuries, while Wolfsburg will be without Luiz Gustavo and Bas Dost because of a red card suspension and an ankle injury.
1. FC Nuremberg - FC Augsburg
Tim Chandler will look to build up his first start of the Bundesliga season when he and Nuremberg host Michael Parkhurst and Augsburg on Saturday.
Nuremberg coach Michael Wiesinger dropped Chandler from the starting lineup following a subpar performance against Sandhausen in the first round of the DFB Pokal, but when Der Club traveled to Bayern Munich last week, Wiesinger restored Chandler at right back. The American performed alright, making the decision to bench him more difficult.
Parkhurst hasn't dressed for Augsburg since the DFB Pokal match against RasenBallsport Leipzig on August 2, and he will hope to change that this weekend. It will be difficult, as the Fuggerstädter picked up their first win of the season against Stuttgart last weekend.
With muscular problems in the abductor region, Timo Gebhart is unavailable for Nuremberg. Marcel de Jong, with a broken toe, Andre Bance, recovering from a broken arm, and Raul Bobadilla, with a serious knee injury, are all out for Augsburg.
FC Schalke 04 - Bayer Leverkusen
Having qualified for the Champions League midweek, Jermaine Jones and Schalke have little time to turn it around for a big match against Leverkusen on Saturday.
Jones and the Royal Blues haven't had the greatest start to the season, recording one point through three matches in the Bundesliga, but they received a confidence booster by sneaking past PAOK on Tuesday.
That booster will be put to the test immediately when Leverkusen comes to town. Across all competitions, the Werkself have won their last nine matches dating back to last season, and they are in third place.
Captain Benedikt Höwedes and Christian Fuchs will miss the match for Schalke because of red card suspensions, while Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Klaas Jan Huntelaar continue to be out with knee injuries. Leverkusen is not reporting any significant injuries.
VfB Stuttgart - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim travel to struggling Stuttgart on Sunday in an attempt to continue their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season.
After barely escaping relegation last season, Hoffenheim has come out of the gates strong, recording five points in three matches. Each match has been an entertaining affair, as the three matches combined for 16 goals.
Stuttgart hasn't been so successful so far, losing the first three Bundesliga matches to start the season. This led to the firing of coach Bruno Labbadia early in the week, with Thomas Schneider coming over.
Hoffenheim will be without Sejad Salihovic, as he must sit out because of a red card suspension. Stuttgart will not have Serdar Tasci and Ibrahima Traore because of a torn meniscus and a red card suspension.
Dynamo Dresden - FC Ingolstadt 04
Off the schneid, Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt take on Dresden on Sunday in a matchup of the bottom two teams in the 2.Bundesliga.
Morales and die Schanzer picked up their first win of the season last weekend at home, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to get the win over Bielefeld. It marked the first league match of the season in which the team scored more than one goal.
Dresden started off the season with successive ties, but things have gone downhill since then. The team has lost its last three matches, dropping it into last place in the German second division.
Ingolstadt will be without Andre Mijatovic, Moritz Hartmann and Almog Cohen with a broken metatarsal bone, a knee injury and an ankle injury, respectively. Filip Trojan will likely miss the match for Dresden, as he is dealing with the flu.
VfL Osnabrück - Stuttgarter Kickers
Albeit in a different position, Royal-Dominique Fennell looks set to make his first start in 2013 for the Stuttgarter Kickers against Osnabrück on Saturday.
Fennell suffered a groin injury halfway through the 2012-13 season, forcing him to have surgery and miss the rest of the season in order to recover. Before that injury, Fennell was a first-choice center back for the Kickers, but since returning to the lineup, he's been on the bench. Now, he could make the move to defensive midfielder in order to return to the starting lineup.
Once again considered one of the favorites to earn promotion into the 2.Bundesliga, Osnabrück's start indicated the team will be in the running this year. The Lily Whites have 10 points through five matches and sit in fifth place in the 3.Liga standings.
The Kickers will be without Daniel Engelbrecht because of myocardial inflammation, while Paul Thomik will be unavailable for Osnabrück with a groin injury.
SV Elversberg - Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor and Münster head to Elversberg on Saturday in need to stop a small swoon.
Münster came into the season with high expectations, and after the first match, it seemed like the Eagles might challenge for promotion again. Since then, however, Münster is winless, and in the 3.Liga standings, it sits in 11th place.
Elversberg might be the team against which Münster can bounce back. The newly promoted team hasn't won a single match this season and has scored just two goals through five matches.
Münster will be without Robin Neupert due to a hip injury, while Thorsten Reiß is out for Elversberg with a right knee injury.
Steve Cherundolo is out once again for Hannover when the Reds host Mainz on Saturday, as he continues to recover from his third knee surgery in 2013.
Bobby Wood might be relegated to the bench for 1860 Munich for the Lions' Friday match against Sandhausen.
Andrew Wooten will hope to start for Kaiserslautern against Energie Cottbus on Monday.
Jerome Kiesewetter looks to dress for Stuttgart II on Friday against Halle.