PREVIEW: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover have little time to prepare for Bayern Munich, while Timmy Chandler and Nuremberg renew their rivalry with Greuther Fürth.
Bayern Munich - Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover have a quick turnaround to face league leader Bayern on Saturday.
Playing Twente in the Europa League on Thursday, Hannover has no time to rest and very little time to prepare for the high-flying Bavarians, as the team plays a rare Saturday afternoon match.
The short rest could force some players to miss out against Bayern, meaning Hannover could field a weaker lineup.
Although leading the Bundesliga, Munich has struggled this past week, recording 1-1 ties to Nuremberg in the Bundesliga and Valencia in the Champions League.
That hasn't affected the team's lead atop the standings, though, as Bayern holds an eight-point cushion over second place Schalke going into the weekend.
Danish midfielder Leon Andreason will continue to miss for Hannover, as he recovers from a cruciate ligament tear. Bayern will be without Luiz Gustavo Dias and Arjen Robben due to adductor problems and a muscle fiber tear, respectively.
Schalke 04 - Eintracht Frankfurt
Jermaine Jones and Schalke go head-to-head with the team their tied on points, as Frankfurt travels to Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.
Despite losing last weekend to Leverkusen, Schalke recovered to beat Olympiakos in the Champions League, ensuring that the German team will advance into the knockout stages of the tournament. The Royal Blues will ride that momentum into the weekend.
Frankfurt, though, will be a tough matchup. After earning promotion to rejoin the Bundesliga, the Eagles have shot right to the top of the Bundesliga standings, sitting in third place behind Schalke on goal differential.
Defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos and midfielder Marco Höger are out for Schalke due to a red card suspension and a tear of the syndesmosis, respectively, while Frankfurt is not reporting any injuries at this time.
Greuther Fürth - FC Nuremberg
Timmy Chandler and Nuremberg travel to Trolli Arena to renew the Franken-Derby on Saturday.
The last time these two teams met in league play came on May 10, 2009, the last season Nuremberg spent in the 2. Bundesliga, but the teams did meet in the 2011/12 DFB Pokal, with Fürth pulling off a 1-0 upset.
That loss will be on the minds on Nuremberg Saturday, as the rivalry takes place for the first time in the Bundesliga. Chandler and Co. had a bit of a lift from a 1-1 tie to Bayern last weekend and will hope to replicate a similar performance against Fürth.
This match has more meaning outside of being a rivalry match for Fürth. The newly-promoted team was touted to make some noise in the Bundesliga but has only one win so far. Fürth sits in 17th place with seven points through 12 matches.
Midfielder Timo Gebhart is out for Nuremberg because of a red card suspension, while Fürth is not reporting any significant injuries.
1899 Hoffenheim - Bayer Leverkusen
Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and Hoffenheim will make a few changes to its lineup against Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
After being tapped as a potential European contender, Hoffenheim has floundered out of the gates. The team sits in 14th place and one point above the promotion playoff spot.
Because of this, the team is looking to make changes to its lineup this weekend. Following a rough week for the American defensive midfielder, Sejad Salihovic is set to replace Williams in starting lineup, while goalkeeper Tim Wiese could also lose his starting job.
Hoffenheim's opponent, Leverkusen, has had the exact opposite run recently. The team has won six of its last seven matches in all competitions, including handing Bayern its first loss of the season on October 28. Leverkusen sits in fifth place with 21 points.
Hoffenheim is not reporting any significant injuries at this time, while Michal Kadlec, Daniel Schwaab, Karim Bellarabi and Sidney Sam are out for Leverkusen due to a knee injury, an ankle injury, a shin injury and muscular problems, respectively.
FC Ingolstadt 04 - SV Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten will start in his natural position against Ingolstadt on Sunday.
The American forward has gone in and out of the lineup, but coach Hans-Jürgen Boysen has elected to use Wooten out wide whenever he's played. This time, however, Wooten will start at the top of the 4-4-1-1 lineup.
Ingolstadt doesn't need to change much, as the team sits in fifth place going into the weekend. Before last weekend's loss to league leading Braunschweig, Ingolstadt went on six-match unbeaten streak, including a 0-0 tie with second place Hertha Berlin.
Sören Halfar, Daniel Schulz and Ole Kittner are out for Sandhausen, the first two because of a groin injury and the last because of cruciate ligament tear. Ingolstadt will be without Ümit Korkmaz because of a ligament tear.
SV Babelsberg 03 - Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor and the Eagles look to further cement their position as promotion favorites against Babelsberg on Saturday.
Normally an offensive juggernaut, Münster struggled against Unterhaching last week in a scoreless tie. The Eagles also missed out on a chance to overtake Osnabrück atop the 3. Bundesliga standings, and hope they will not let that chance slip away again.
Babelsberg knows all about offensive struggles. The team is tied for the worst goals total in Germany's third tier with 15, and teams have held Babelsberg scoreless in five matches so far this season.
Amaury Bischoff and Dominik Schmidt are out for Münster with an ankle injury and a knee injury, respectively, while Assimiou Touré and Benjamin Kauffmann are out for Babelsberg because of a red card suspension and a muscle fiber tear.
Stuttgart Kickers - SV Darmstadt 98
Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt look to climb out of the cellar against fellow relegation candidates Stuttgarter Kickers on Saturday.
The Kickers' Royal-Dominique Fennell will miss once again due to a groin injury and will be out for the rest of 2012 following surgery.
The Lilies have lost six of their last eight matches, including their last two matches, and because of this run, the team fell into last place in the 3. Bundesliga. The good news for Darmstadt is that during this streak, the team managed to pull off a result after losing two matches in a row, meaning that the team should earn at least a point if the pattern holds true.
After a strong start to the season, it's all gone downhill for the Kickers. The team is riding a six-match winless streak that has seen the team fall into the relegation zone for the first time all season, and the home team will hope that it can turn it around against the last place team.
Along with Fennell, the Kickers will be without goalkeeper Marcus Krauss, defender Kai Evers, midfielder Vincenzo Marchese and forward Peter Sprung because of a meniscus tear, a broken foot, a knee injury and muscular problems, respectively.
Darmstadt is not reporting any injuries at this time.
Joe Gyau will hope to feature for St. Pauli on Sunday against Duisburg.
Defender Alfredo Morales must sit out Hertha Berlin's match on Sunday against Aue because of a red card suspension.
Forward Jerome Kiesewetter will look to make Stuttgart II's lineup against Dortmund II on Saturday.