PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Tim Chandler and Jermaine Jones face each other right before the international break, while Joe Gyau gets another start for St. Pauli.
FC Nürnberg - FC Schalke 04
Tim Chandler and Nuremberg square off against fellow American Jermaine Jones and Schalke on Saturday.
Instead of starting at his usual right back spot, Chandler might move up to the right wing position for Der Club this weekend to fill the void left by Timo Gebhart, who will miss the match because of a groin injury. Chandler played the position as a youth player and has played it at times for Nürnberg.
Jones, meanwhile, returns to the starting lineup after missing two crucial matches due to yellow card suspensions. The Royal Blues managed to take care of Dortmund in the Ruhrderby last weekend but crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday without him.
Now, he and Schalke can concentrate on making it back to the Champions League next year, as the Royal Blues hold fourth place at the moment.
Schalke will be without Lars Unnerstall, Ciprian Marcia and Kyriakos Papadopoulos because of knee operations, Ibrahim Afellay because of a thigh injury and Klaas Jan Huntelaar because of a knee injury.
Outside of Gebhart, Nürnberg is not reporting any other significant injuries.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - FC Mainz 05
Fabian Johnson is doubtful, while Danny Williams might be relegated to the bench when Mainz comes to town on Saturday.
Johnson missed last week's match against Fürth with a hip injury, and while coach Marco Kurz hasn't completely ruled him out for this weekend, he said on Thursday that Johnson's inclusion in the squad isn't likely.
Despite two solid performances by Williams in the past two weeks, his inclusion is also in doubt thanks to Eugen Polanski returning to face his old team Mainz. Polanski just got over a bout of the flu and should return to the starting lineup, meaning Williams or Tobias Weis will make way.
While Hoffenheim needs the points in the relegation matchup, this match is important for Mainz as well. The away team is one point back of Hamburg in the last Europa League spot and two points back of Schalke and Frankfurt in the Champions League qualification and first Europa League positions, respectively.
Along with Johnson, Hoffenheim's injury list includes Sebastian Rudy and Sejad Salihovic due to a foot operation and a meniscus tear, respectively. Mainz will be without Junior Diaz because of a thigh injury, Radoslav Zabavnik due to the aftereffects from a concussion and Marco Caliguri with a right ankle injury.
FC Union Berlin - FC St. Pauli
Joseph-Claude Gyau looks set to make his third consecutive start for St. Pauli when his team travels to Berlin in 2.Bundesliga on Friday.
One of two wingers that St. Pauli brought in on loan over the summer, Gyau has finally made a mark for his team after struggling for playing time for much of the season. Although he has yet to record a goal or an assist, he has impressed coach Michael Frontzeck in recent weeks to help push St. Pauli away from the drop zone.
Union Berlin, meanwhile, is running out of time to make a push at promotion. Union has won only one of its last five matches, falling from fourth to eighth place in the standings, and now sits six back of Kaiserslautern in the promotion playoff position.
St. Pauli will be without Christopher Buchtmann, Kevin Schindler and Daniel Ginczek because of a foot operation, an ankle injury and a red card suspension, respectively. Union Berlin is not reporting any significant injuries at this time.
VfR Aalen - SV Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen look to improve their away record and chance of staying in the German second division at Aalen on Sunday.
Wooten and Co. have recorded six points and one win all season long on the road, the worst record in the 2.Bundesliga. Sitting three points back of 16th place Dynamo Dresden in the relegation playoff position, Sandhausen needs to change that away record in order to keep survival as a possibility.
Aalen might just be the opponent against which Sandhausen could get a positive away result. Aalen is tied for the second-worst home record in the league this season, picking up only 12 of the team's 31 points in its home stadium.
Simon Tüting will be unavailable for Sandhausen because of a broken arm, while Aalen will be without Enrico Valentini and Tim Kister due to a knee injury and yellow card accumulation, respectively.
Preußen Münster - Alemannia Aachen
Matt Taylor and Münster look to break into the top three positions in the 3.Liga standings against Aachen on Saturday.
The Eagles managed a 1-1 tie against Bielefeld last week, which neither hurt nor helped the team's climb back into a promotion spot. Münster has played two teams ahead of it in the standings during the past two weeks and picked up four points from those matches, however.
Keeping pressure on the top three shouldn't be too much of an issue against Aachen. The Potato Beetles went into bankruptcy late in 2012 and are heading for relegation no matter where their end their season. Right now, the team sits in 17th place.
Münster will be without Clement Halet and Fabian Hergesell because of a red card suspension and yellow card accumulation.
Aachen will be without Mario Erb with a broken foot, Sascha Herröder because of a red card suspension, Kristoffer Andersen due to a groin injury and Florian Müller with a long-term injury to some cartilage.
SV Darmstadt 98 - VfL Osnabrück
In serious need of three points, Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt host Osnabrück on Saturday.
The Lilies didn't make up any ground on 18th place Babelsberg last weekend despite the 2-0 win over Stuttgart II. Darmstadt did make up ground on the Stuttgarter Kickers and Aachen, though, and are now just three points out of safety.
With Osnabrück coming to town, things aren't looking good for the Lilies to make up any ground this weekend. Osnabrück is in the driver's seat for direct promotion, sitting in second place.
Hanno Behrens and Benjamin Gorka will miss the match for Darmstadt due to yellow card accumulation and a red card suspension, respectively.
Osnabrück will be without Manuel Riemann because of a red card suspension and Timo Staffeldt and Simon Zoller due to yellow card accumulation.
Michael Parkhurst should make Augsburg's bench in the team's match at Hamburg on Saturday.
Steve Cherundolo will miss Hannover's Sunday matchup at Mönchengladbach as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Alfredo Morales and Bobby Wood should make Hertha Berlin's and 1860 Munich's benches, respectively, when the teams meet up in Munich on Saturday.
Jerome Kiesewetter might make Stuttgart II's bench against Rostock on Saturday.
Royal-Dominique Fennell continues to recover from groin surgery and is out for the Stuttgarter Kickers when they face Kickers Offenbach on Saturday.