MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, August 1, 2014
With the 2.Bundesliga season beginning this weekend, Alfredo Morales, Andrew Wooten and Bobby Wood should be in action.
FC St. Pauli - FC Ingolstadt 04
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt begin their 2014-2015 season on the road in Hamburg at St. Pauli on Sunday, looking to build off their strong finish from the previous season.
Morales should start in central midfield for the Schanzer, as he did for most of the 2013-2014 season.
Ingolstadt struggled out of the gates last season, sitting in the relegation zone through the first 15 matches, but die Schanzer surged after replacing coach Marco Kurz with current coach Ralph Hasenhüttl. The change worked, as Ingolstadt finished in 10th place and lost just one of its final nine matches.
St. Pauli, meanwhile, tailed off at the end of last season, finishing off the season on a five-match winless streak, but they still placed in the top half of the 2.Bundesliga standings at eighth. St. Pauli will hope to match that this year in spite of all the competition for promotion.
Ingolstadt will be without Konstantin Engel because of a wrist injury, Ralph Gunesch and Christian Eigler because of knee injuries, Leon Jessen because of an ankle injury and Almog Cohen because of a broken shin. St. Pauli will not have Marcel Halstenberg available with a torn hamstring.
SV Darmstadt 98 - SV Sandhausen
After rejoining Sandhausen this offseason, Andrew Wooten will look to make it a happy return when Sandhausen opens up the season at Darmstadt on Sunday.
Two seasons ago, Wooten spent a successful season on loan at Sandhausen, one that saw him make the 2.Bundesliga team of the week three times and totaled seven goals. He spent the second half of last season on loan at FSV Frankfurt, where he earned two 2.Budnesliga team of the week honors, and he made the move back to Sandhausen this season.
During Wooten's first stay at Sandhausen, the team finished in a relegation spot, but due to some financial difficulties for Duisburg, Sandhausen didn't get relegated and the team enjoyed the free season in the German second tier with a 12th-place finish in 2013-2014. The team will hope to build off that with Wooten back in the squad.
Darmstadt is returning to the German second division for the first time since the 1991-1992 season when they were relegated and never seemed to recover, dealing with financial difficulties for quite some time that dropped the team into the fourth division at one point. The Lilies managed to earn promotion to the 2.Bundesliga thanks to an aggregate win over Arminia Bielefeld in the promotion playoff.
Ranisav Jovanovic will miss the match for Sandhausen, while Darmstadt is not reporting an significant injuries.
1. FC Kaiserslautern - TSV 1860 Munich
Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich start their campaign toward earning promotion against a tough opponent in Kaiserslautern on Monday.
Wood should start for 1860 Munich and new coach Ricardo Moniz, who has favored the American forward at the left wing throughout the preseason.
For the past decade, 1860 Munich has been searching for a return to the Bundesliga, but die Löwen haven't managed to finish higher than sixth place over that time. Fans are hoping this might be the year, and 1860 is considered one of the favorites to do so.
Like Munich, Kaiserslautern has dreams of earning promotion back to the Bundesliga after been relegated back in the 2011-2012 season. The Red Devils have fallen just short of that goal the past two seasons, losing in the promotion playoffs to Hoffenheim two seasons ago and finishing six points out of third place last season.
Die Löwen will be without right back Grzegorz Wojtkowiak with a thigh injury, while Illie Sanchez is questionable with abductor issues. Kaiserslautern is not reporting any significant injuries.
Stuttgarter Kickers - Jahn Regensburg
Royal-Dominique Fennell will look to put behind a rather perplexing performance in the Stuttgarter Kickers' season opener for their home opener against Regensburg on Saturday.
Fennell should start in central defense for the Kickers despite picking up a yellow card and scoring an own goal in the Kickers' opening 2-1 loss to Wehen Wiesbaden last weekend. He also score the lone goal for his team to give it a lead early before the Kickers blew it in the second half. Going back to last season, the Kickers are riding a five-match winless streak in the league.
Regensburg, meanwhile, continued its streak at the end of last season by beating Duisburg at home, 3-1. That stretched the team's unbeaten run in the 3.Liga to seven matches.
The Kickers' Marco Calamita and Daniel Engelbrecht are out with a torn meniscus and a heart operation. Regensburg will be without Azur Velagic, Romas Dressler and Daniel Franziskus because of groin problems, an undisclosed injury and a red-card suspension.
Borussia Dortmund II - Holstein Kiel
Joe Gyau and Dortmund II will look to build off their season-opening win when they host Marc Heider and Kiel on Saturday.
Gyau should start in an attacking midfield role for the Schwarzgelben, while Heider should start at forward for Kiel.
Dortmund II started off the season right last weekend with a 2-1 over Erfurt, dominating in the middle minutes before holding on for the win. Gyau went the full 90 minutes in that win despite training with the first team for much of the preseason.
Kiel managed to take part in the only tie in the entire 3.Liga last weekend - a goalless one with against Unterhaching at home. The Storks travel to Rote Erde to take on what should be a more difficult opponent.
Dortmund will be without Marian Sarr, Jeremy Dudziak and Nick Weber because of a meniscus operation, a shoulder injury and a torn Patella tendon, respectively.
After partially tearing his ACL in the team's last preseason warmup, Terrence Boyd will miss RasenBallsport Leipzig's season opener against Aalen on Saturday.
Jerome Kiesewetter should be in the 18 when Stuttgart II hosts Preußen Münster on Saturday.