PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Danny Williams could earn his first start of the season at center back, while Royal-Dominique Fennell and Stuttgarter Kickers will try to stop Matt Taylor and Münster.
Fortuna Düsseldorf - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Due to injuries, Daniel Williams looks set to play at center back, alongside Fabian Johnson on the backline of Hoffenheim against Düsseldorf, on Saturday.
Danish defender Jannik Vestergaard and French defender Matthieu Delpierre normally play one of the two center back positions for Hoffenheim, but with Vestergaard done for the rest of the front half of the season due to a right ankle injury and Delpierre questionable due to a cold, Williams will have to move back.
Williams can make that move thanks to the return of Sejad Salihovic. The DFB suspended the Bosnian for four matches for a red card against Augsburg, on September 29, and Williams filled in for him. Now, because of the injury problems at the back, Salihovic will be thrust right back into the starting lineup.
Düsseldorf will hope to take advantage of the shuffling in the Hoffenheim lineup, as the team is winless in its last five Bundesliga matches, allowing 15 goals over that span.
Outside of Vestergaard and Delpierre, Hoffenheim is not reporting any other significant injuries. Düsseldorf will be without Stelios Malezas and Dani Schahin because of torn muscle fibers and a laceration of the capsule, respectively.
FC Schalke 04 - Werder Bremen
After losing last week for the first time in six weeks, Jermaine Jones and Schalke need three points against Bremen on Saturday in order to keep pace with Bayern Munich in the title race.
Schalke wasn't supposed to be in the title race according to preseason predictions, as the team had opted for a younger roster. Yet, Schalke sits in second place in Germany's top tier after 10 Bundesliga matches, seven points behind Bayern.
Meanwhile, Bremen had a disastrous start to the season, losing in the first round of the DFB Pokal to Münster and two of its first three Bundesliga matches. The team has turned it around, however, and now sits in in seventh place, just outside of a Europa League qualification spot.
Schalke will have some problems at left back, with both Atsuto Uchida and Marco Höger both going down to injury midweek against Arsenal. Midfielder Clemens Fritz is still out for Bremen with an adductor injury.
VfB Stuttgart - Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo will once again captain Hannover at Stuttgart, on Sunday.
Cherundolo and Hannover had a hot start to the season but have cooled as of late. Before last Sunday's 2-0 win over Augsburg, Hannover suffered through a four-match winless streak, including losses to Hamburg, Frankfurt and Mönchengladbach.
As cold as Hannover has been, Stuttgart has been just as hot. The Swabians have picked 11 of their 13 points in the last five Bundesliga matches, a streak that has seen the team shoot up to 10th place in the standings.
Hannover will be without midfielders Leon Andreasen and Sergio da Silva Pinto because of a cruciate ligament tear and torn thigh muscle, respectively, while Stuttgart will be without forwards Tunay Torun and Cacau because of a torn muscle fiber and torn cruciate ligament, respectively.
SV Sandhausen - Hertha Berlin
Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen play host to John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin, on Friday night.
Brooks has earned his fifth start at center back for the Berliners, having cementing himself the starting job after a 3-0 win over Munich, on October 5. Hertha has not lost a match since coach Jos Luhukay inserted the young German-American into the starting lineup, winning the first two and tying the last two matches.
The Wooten experiment at right wing didn't go as well as Brooks' experience in Berlin, with Sandhausen coach Gerd Dais taking Wooten out of the starting lineup before last week's 2-1 loss at Braunschweig. Still, Wooten is expected to be one of the first options called off the bench for the home team.
Goalkeeper Daniel Ischdonat, defenders Sören Halfar and Daniel Schulz, and midfielder Jan Fießer are out for Sandhausen because of stomach and intestinal problems, a groin injury, adductor injury and stomach problems, respectively.
Berlin will be without Fabian Holland and Änis Ben-Hatira because of a thigh injury and ankle injury, respectively.
Stuttgarter Kickers - Preußen Münster
Royal-Dominique Fennell and the Stuttgarter Kickers defense face a tough task ahead of them when they host Matt Taylor and high-flying Münster, on Saturday.
Münster boasts one of the most explosive offenses in the 3.Bundesliga, tied for the first in the league with 29 goals. The team can thank Taylor for the offense's success, as the American forward leads the German third tier with 11 goals, thus far.
The Kickers defense will test the Eagles' offense, though. The Kickers are tied for second in goals allowed (18), which is one of the many reasons the team sits in 15th place at the moment. Stuttgart will need some more offense to get a result in this match, however, only managing 18 goals through 15 matches.
Kai Bastian Evers, Sandrino Braun and Vincenzo Marchese will miss the game for the Kickers due to a stress fracture in the metatarsal bone, yellow card accumulation and knee injury, respectively, while Münster is not reporting any injuries at this time.
Karlsruher SC - SV Darmstadt 98
Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt hope to end Karlsruhe's strong recent run, on Saturday.
Zimmerman and Co. ended a five-match winless streak last Saturday with a 1-0 win over Kickers Offenbach. However, the win wasn't enough to get Darmstadt out of the relegation zone, with the team still sitting in 18th place in the 3.Bundesliga.
Meanwhile, sixth place Karlsruhe is on fire. The team rides a six-match unbeaten streak, which includes a huge win over Münster two weeks ago, and Karlsruhe has recorded four shutouts over that span.
Rudolf Hübner and Marc Schnier are out for Darmstadt because of an appendectomy and a red card suspension from the Under-23 team, while Dennis Kempe, Daniel Gordon, Martin Stoll are out for Karlsruhe because of yellow card accumulation, a red card suspension and a broken metatarsal bone.
Goalkeeper David Yelldell will hope to make Leverkusen's bench against Wolfsburg, on Sunday.
Forward Jerome Kiesewetter will hope to feature for Stuttgart II against Bielefeld, on Saturday.
Joe Gyau could feature for St. Pauli against Bochum, on Monday.