MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, February 28, 2014
Americans have some tough matchups this weekend, as Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim welcome one of Johnson's former teams and Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers host Heidenheim.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - VFL Wolfsburg
Fabian Johnson should start at either fullback position for Hoffenheim when they host Wolfsburg in Bundesliga action on Sunday.
Hoffenheim may sit in 10th place, which is much higher than it was at this point last season in the middle of a relegation battle, but the team can't breathe a sigh of relief.
Hoffenheim is eight points behind Mainz in ninth place and just seven points above the relegation zone, meaning it needs points even if it cannot move up the standings.
Picking up points against high-flying Wolfsburg could prove problematic, as the Wolves are chasing a Champions League spot.
They have won their past four matches across all competitions, including three league wins over teams in the top nine places and a DFB-Pokal quarterfinal win over Hoffenheim on February 12.
Wolfsburg will be without Vierinha with a torn cruciate ligament, while Bas Dost is probable with an ankle injury.
Hoffenheim's David Abraham is questionable because of abductor problems.
Stuttgarter Kickers - 1. FC Heidenheim
Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers host first-place Heidenheim on Saturday in a match that could decide whether the Kickers have a shot at promotion.
The Kickers' meteoric rise up the 3.Liga standings started before the winter break with the team in the relegation zone to now in seventh place, with the Kickers eight points above the relegation and eight points below the promotion-playoff spot.
That jump in the standings came about as the Kickers have dropped point in just two out of their last seven matches, both ties.
While the Kickers are riding a seven-match unbeaten streak, they are running into the only team hotter right now - in fact, Heidenheim is on fire.
Heidenheim is 11 points clear atop the 3.Liga standings and has a 14-match unbeaten streak. The last time Heidenheim lost a match came on October 5 against Leipzig, 2-0.
Goalkeeper Markus Krauss will miss the match for the Kickers with an elbow injury, while long-term absentees Marcos Alvarez and Daniel Englebrecht are out because of a knee injury and a heart condition.
As for Heidenheim, Mathias Wittek and Smail Morabit are unavailable because of yellow-card accumulation.
John Anthony Brooks should dress for Hertha BSC when the Old Lady hosts Freiburg on Friday.
Timothy Chandler's knee injury makes him unavailable for Nürnberg on Saturday at Dortmund.
Steve Cherundolo is out for Hannover's Saturday match at Augsburg as he continues to struggle with knee issues.
Bobby Wood should be in the 18 on Saturday when 1860 Munich takes on Sandhausen in 2.Bundesliga action.
Andrew Wooten will hope to start for FSV Frankfurt in the Bornheimer's Sunday matchup at second-place Greuther Fürth.
Alfredo Morales could start for Ingolstadt on Sunday as die Schanzer welcome Dreden to Audi-Sportpark.
Matt Taylor will likely start Preußen Münster's bench when die Adler host Osnabrück in a 3.Liga derby match.