PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo will most likely be in the back line when Hannover 96 travel to Hamburg on Sunday and Michael Bradley should make his return to the line-up after sitting out a one-week suspension.
VfB Stuttgart - Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley will most likely return to his usual spot in midfield when Borussia Mönchengladbach travels to Stuttgart on Saturday.
After the win last week against Hamburg, Gladbach have most likely exited the relegation race for this season. The team from Michael Frontzeck is currently in 12th place, a full 10 points above the relegation play-off spot.
Stuttgart is a team that has really turned things around following a coaching change mid-season. The team has progressively moved up in the standings and is now sitting in seventh place, with the win last week against Bayern Munich surely giving them a bit of added confidence.
Frontzeck will have a complete squad to choose from, as the team has no reported injuries or suspensions.
Stuttgart will be without midfielder Sami Khedira, who has a knee injury and forward Cacau who is serving a suspension after pickling up his fifth yellow card.
Hamburg SV - Hannover 96
After losing 4-1 to Cologne, Steve Cherundolo and his teammates from Hannover will have to step up their game if they want to earn any points from their trip to Hamburg on Sunday.
If there was anyway to prepare for the road ahead, taking on sixth-placed Hamburg is as good a place to start as any for Hannover. It's the first game of a four-game streak that has them matched up with all of the Bundesliga heavyweights: FC Schalke 04, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
With so few games remaining in the season, and the team from head coach Mirko Slomka still stuck in the relegation zone, this may be the only chance to come up for air. The bottom of the standings is crowded. There are five teams that are still fighting for survival and if Hannover isn't able to salvage any points from the next four games, the last two games of the season might be meaningless.
Hamburg has been on the other side of standings for the entire season, but that hasn't stopped the criticism from its fans and the local media. The team has slowly slipped out of the top five and now needs to fight for its spot in next year's European competition.
Slomka will once again have to get creative when fielding his team this week. Midfielders Elson and Jacek Krzynowek, forward Arouna Kone and all-rounder Constant Djakpa are all sidelined with knee injuries. Jan Rosenthal is still recovering from a hip problem and Altin Lala and Mikael Forssel are still in rehab. Hanno Balitsch will be sitting out this week as he serves a suspension for the red card he received last week. Additionally, Sal Zizzo is still missing as he continues to recover from an ACL injury suffered during the fall.
Hamburg will be without midfielders Marcell Jansen, who has a foot injury, and Eljero Elia who is recovering from ankle surgery. They are also without defender Collin Benjamin, who has a quad injury.
TuS Koblenz - SC Paderborn
David Yeldell will once again be between the sticks for Koblenz as the team takes on Paderborn at home.
It is beginning to look like lights-out for TuS Koblenz in the struggle against relegation. The team is slowly losing ground on the competition with five points separating the team from the relegation play-off spot. Everything is possible and crazier things have happened, but the team is in desperate need of three points if it wants to stay afloat.
Paderborn is in the middle of the standings and will probably stay there. The team has been good this season, but nothing compared to the teams leading the league. Paderborn hasn't won in four games and will be looking to steal some points.
Koblenz midfielder Zoltan Stieber is still out with a hip problem and Philipp Langen is out with a hand injury. Midfielder Everson will be serving his suspension for picking up his fifth yellow card.
Paderborn will be without defender Christian Strohdiek, who has a knee problem, Gaetano Manno, who is still in rehabilitation and Mahir Saglik who is serving the first of a three-game suspension for a red card he received last week.
Ricardo Clark will most likely start on the bench and will be looking for his first minutes with Frankfurt when the team hosts Leverkusen on Saturday.
Jared Jeffrey might make the bench for Mainz when the club travels to Nuremburg on Saturday.
Defender Daniel Williams will be looking to get back into the mix for SC Freiburg when team hosts Bochum on Saturday.
FC Schalke 04 will host second-place Bayern Munich on Saturday and will once again be without Jermaine Jones as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench when Kaiserslautern travels to Oberhausen on Sunday.
Matt Taylor will be looking to make the bench when Frankfurt travels to Bielefeld on Sunday.