PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim need points against fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen, while Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers will try to bounce back from their first loss of 2014.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim will look to take advantage of a slumping Bayer Leverkusen team in Bundesliga action on Sunday.
Although Hoffenheim sits in 10th place in the Bundesliga, the place might be a bit deceiving.
The team is just seven points above the relegation-playoff spot, which the same distance between Hoffenheim and the team in ninth, and Hoffenheim's last two opponents have scored four goals against each on it in two losses.
As much as Hoffenheim has struggled, Leverkusen has been much worse. Die Werkself has lost its last eight matches across all competitions, and during that span, they have been shut out three times and have been outscored, 16-5.
David Abraham will miss the match for Hoffenheim with thigh problems, while Jens Hegeler and Robbie Kruse are out for Leverkusen with an ankle injury and an torn ACL.
FC St. Pauli - FC Ingolstadt 04
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt will attempt to get back on track when they travel to Hamburg to take on St. Pauli in 2.Bundesliga action.
Ingolstadt had its five-match unbeaten streak last weekend in a loss to FSV Frankfurt, which was also the team's second loss in its last nine matches.
Die Schanzer have really turned it around since the slow start to the season, sitting five points above the relegation zone after spending much of the Hinrunde mired in last place.
Die Schanzer's opponent this weekend, St. Pauli, have one thing in common with Ingolstadt - it, too, lost to Frankfurt. That's the only blimp for St. Pauli recently, as the Buccaneers have won three of their last four matches and are now just one point behind Paderborn in the promotion playoff position.
Tamas Hajnal will miss the match for Ingolstadt with a broken rib, while St. Pauli will be without Christopher Buchtmann because of thigh problems and a torn abductor muscle and Lennart Thy because of yellow card accumulation.
Borussia Dortmund II - Stuttgarter Kickers
Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers head to Dortmund on Friday to square off with Borussia Dortmund's second team in 3.Liga action.
The Kickers were flying high until last weekend, as Chemnitz ended the Schwaben's nine-match unbeaten streak.
Still, that streak allowed the Kickers to climb out of the relegation zone and into eighth place with 40 points, and they have an eight-point advantage over the drop zone with nine matches remaining.
Dortmund's Under-23 team may be five places below the Kickers in the standings, but die Schwarzgelben have accrued just three points less so far. Dortmund has won three of its last five matches and now sits five points above the relegation zone.
The Kickers will be without goalkeeper Markus Krauss because of an elbow injury, Marcos Alvarez because of a knee injury and Daniel Englebrecht because of a heart condition. Jannik Bandowski and Mustafa Amini are out for Dortmund II because of ankle injuries.
Baring unforeseen circumstances, John Anthony Brooks will dress for Hertha BSC when the Old Lady faces Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
Tim Chandler will not be available for Nürnberg's Sunday matchup with Eintracht Frankfurt, as his season is likely over according to quotes by Der Club's coach Gertjan Verbeek to local media earlier this week.
Andrew Wooten should be relegated back to the bench when FSV Frankfurt plays Fortuna Duesseldorf at home. The Bornheimer's leading scorer, Edmond Kapllani, will return to the team after missing last weekend's match because of yellow card accumulation.
Bobby Wood should be a bench option for coach Friedhelm Funkel when 1860 Munich hosts Kaiserslautern on Sunday.
Matt Taylor will dress for Muenster when the Eagles travel to Jahn Regensburg on Saturday in 3.Liga action.