DAVID SMITH - Friday, July 22, 2011
Ricardo Clark could find himself in Eintracht Frankfurt's starting lineup for the team's home opener while Matt Taylor and Paderborn will look to build on last week's victory as they host Düsseldorf.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - Erzgebirge Aue
Edson Buddle will likely begin Ingolstadt's game on the bench on Friday when they welcome Erzgebirge Aue for their home opener.
The demons of last fall played the Schanzer a visit in their first game last weekend, as their inability to put any past their hosts St. Pauli and some costly defensive errors sent them to a 2-0 loss.
The result left them at the bottom of the standings after one game, and they will be looking to treat the home audience to a win on Friday to prevent any sort of early-season crisis from developing.
Aue were the surprise of the division last season, going straight from promotion to a fifth-place finish in the 2. Bundesliga, and all eyes will be upon them in the new term to see if they will suffer the sophomore slump.
Ingolstadt have a full squad for the game, while Aue are missing only forward Alban Ramaj due to a knee problem.
SC Paderborn 07 - Fortuna Düsseldorf
Matt Taylor will hope to be included in Paderborn's starting lineup on Sunday as they welcome Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Both teams won their opening games last weekend to enter the eight-team fray sitting on three points, in each case raising some eyebrows across the league.
Paderborn, who have more often than not been a largely anonymous presence in their brief spurts in the 2. Bundesglia, toughed out a surprising come-back in Rostock capped by a late winner to get their season off on the right foot.
Taylor was on the bench to start that game, however with the team playing at home could be partnered up top with last week's winning scorer Nick Proschwitz.
Düsseldorf were equally impressive in shutting out VfL Bochum by a 2-0 score at home, gaining early confidence by taking out a team that is almost universally considered a favorite to be amongst the two or three best at the end of the season.
Paderborn have no injuries of note, while Düsseldorf are without striker Ranisav Jovanovic thanks to an ankle injury.
Eintracht Frankfurt - FC St. Pauli
Ricardo Clark could be included in Eintracht Frankfurt's starting lineup on Monday when they welcome FC St. Pauli.
Clark did not take the field in Eintracht's dramatic come-from-behind win in Fürth on Friday, however might have caught his break during the week with the sale of longtime-starting central defender Marco Russ to Wolfsburg.
The former Houston Dynamo player was a regular go-to guy in the center of defense last season whenever injuries troubled the squad and is a prime candidate to end up in the starting role in this still early part of the season.
Despite the perfect start to the 2011-12 season on paper, Armin Veh's squad will still be looking to solve some problems, as the league favorites looked not only beatable but at times completely vulnerable in initially falling two goals behind Fürth in the first half of play last week.
St. Pauli are also off to a perfect start in their bid for a quick re-promotion to the Bundesliga, having soundly beaten Ingolstadt one week before thanks to a second-half surge and a pair of second-half goals by Fabian Boll.
Frankfurt will likely be without several players; defenders Habib Bellaid and Georgios Tzavellas are both recovering from knee injuries, forward Martin Fenin missed last week's game with a muscle pull and former Werder Bremen defender Dominik Schmidt is still regaining his fitness from an earlier injury.
For St. Pauli, Defenders Moritz Volz and Carlos Zambrano are both out due to broken leg and thigh problem, midfielder Dennis Daube with a torn knee ligament, and forwards Marius Ebbers and Rouwen Hennings are likely still sidelined due to respective adductor and groin problems.
Jahn Regensburg - SV Babelsberg 03
Amaechi Igwe will hope to have put his past injury problems behind him when his new team SV Babelsberg 03 head south to visit Jahn Regensburg to open the 2011-12 3. Liga season.
Igwe left Ingolstadt after missing the entire previous season with knee problems, however managed to land with the Berlin-area club which is beginning its second season in Germany's third level.
Babelsberg finished a respectable 13th place in the 20-team league last season, leaving them well clear of the relegation zone, however could be hard-pressed to do better in 2011-12.
Their major weakness was a lack of goalscoring where they ranked fifth-worst in the division, and a lack of any major forward reinforcements so far in the summer transfer season could once again leave them somewhat toothless on the attack.
In a similar fashion, Regensburg were poor in front of goal last season, however were able to translate a stout defense that allowed just over one goal per game into an eighth-place finish.
Regensburg will be missing defender Mersad Selimbegovic, who is out with a back injury. Babelsburg are reporting no absences.
SV Darmstadt 98 - VfL Osnabrück
Preston Zimmerman should be in Darmstadt's starting lineup on Saturday when they begin their season with a home game against VfL Osnabrück.
Darmstadt were champions of the fourth-division Regionalliga Süd last season, but will be in for a tough run as they try to navigate life on a professional level for the first time in more than a decade.
The move to Darmstadt is a step up for the 22 year-old American who had an impressive campaign with the second team of Mainz last season. He has been a major contributor to the team so far in the preseason in scoring a number of goals, and will almost certainly be on the field from the start.
Osnabrück suffered a disappointing relegation to the third division after their playoff loss to Dynamo Dresden, and will be trying to start what they hope will be a promotion campaign off with a win under new head coach Uwe Fuchs.
Darmstadt will likely make do without new arrival Matthias Heckenberger, as the former Nürnberg defender is struggling with a thigh problem.
Osnabrück will be without summer signing Martin Hudec, as the defender recovers from a pulled muscle. Additionally, midfielder Claus Costa is sidelined with a broken hand.
Bobby Wood will hope to be included on 1860's bench on Saturday when they host Karlsruher SC. Luis Robles is expected to be on KSC's bench as the backup to starter Dirk Orlishausen.