PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
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MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, April 4, 2014
American defenders face off when John Anthony Brooks and Fabian Johnson meet in Berlin, while Royal-Dominique Fennell and Stuttgarter Kickers will hope a match against Saarbrücken will end a slump.

Hertha BSC - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Two German-American defenders could face off on Sunday when John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin host Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim.

Brooks will dress barring a last-minute injury and could start at center back for the Old Lady, while Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol will likely deploy Johnson at right back as he has for most of the Rückrunde.

Hertha has been in a bit of rut recently after starting off the season strong, looking at possibly pushing for Europe. The Berliners have lost four in a row and haven't won a match since Feb. 22, dropping into 10th place and nine points off a European spot.

Unlike Hertha, Hoffenheim comes into the weekend on a bit of a hot streak. Hoffenheim is riding a three-match unbeaten streak, including a morale-boosting 3-3 draw with champion Bayern Munich last weekend.

Berlin will not have Fabian Lustenberger and Tolga Cigerci available because of a thigh injury and yellow card accumulation. Sven Schipplock and David Abraham will miss for Hoffenheim with a pinched nerve and abductor problems.

FC Ingolstadt 04 - SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt welcome second place Greuther Fürth to town on Monday.

Morales should start at one of the double sixes for the Schanzer.

Ingolstadt hasn't clinched safety yet, but because there are just eight league matches to go and it has an eight-point advantage over the relegation zone, odds are die Schanzer are in good shape. Still, to ensure safety, Ingolstadt needs to get some offense, as it has recorded scoreless draws twice in its last three matches.

Ingolstadt's opponent, Fürth, has a lot to play for thanks to an eight-match unbeaten run in league play. That stretch has catapulted die Kleeblätter into second place and the last automatic promotion spot, tied on points with Paderborn in third place.

Moritz Hartmann is unavailable For Ingolstadt because of a knee injury, while Ralph Gunesch will also miss after tearing his ACL in practice on Wednesday. Fürth is not reporting any significant injuries at this time.

Stuttgarter Kickers - 1 FC Saarbrücken

Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers will look to end a short slide when they play Saarbrücken on Friday.

Fennell should start at his usual spot in the back line as one of the center back.

After being on fire following the winter break, the Kickers have cooled off in recent weeks. They've gone four matches winless and have been shut out in two of those matches.

The Kickers do have some momentum heading into the weekend, however, as they came back from a two-goal halftime deficit to record a tie last weekend.

Saarbrücken may be just what the doctor ordered for the Kickers, as Saarbrücken currently sits in last place in the 3.Liga. The team has lost seven of its last 10 matches, and opponents have held Saarbrücken scoreless five times over that span.

Stuttgart will be without Markus Krauss, Daniel Wagner, Kai Bastian Evers and Kevin Dicklhuber because of an elbow injury, a torn ACL, a thigh injury and a toe injury. Saarbrücken is not reporting any injuries.

Notes

Tim Chandler's knee injury will keep him out for Nuremberg's match against Mönchengladbach on Saturday.

Andrew Wooten should be on the bench for FSV Frankfurt when the Bornheimer travel to Aalen on Friday in 2.Bundesliga action.

Bobby Wood will hope to dress for 1860 Munich on Sunday against Karlsruhe.

Matt Taylor should make Preußen Münster's bench when the Eagles host promotion-chasing Darmstadt.
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