It could be a busy weekend for US players but Saturday isn’t looking the most encouraging. Here’s what we’ll be watching:
Mainz v Schalke FC - 2:30p on FS2
With Christian Pulisic’s playing time seeming to shrink a bit, Bobby Wood (still) scuffling, and injuries beginning to pile up Weston McKennie’s return is coming none too soon. McKennie saw the field for 10 minutes last weekend in his return to action from a minor knee injury and will hopefully continue to see his playing time increase moving forward.
Schalke have worked their way to 2nd in the crowded second tier of the Bundesliga, sitting just one point above both Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt who face off in league play on Sunday. Schalke face Mainz who might be in relegation danger if not for the ineptitude of Hamburg and Cologne but the pressure will be on McKennie and Schalke as a win will be crucial against the weaker team if they are going to hang on to their top four position down the stretch.
Saturday could be pretty rough, there are five games that could see Americans take the field but injury and poor form mean that it’s more likely to be a frustrating day, with perhaps one or two glimmers of hope.
Bayern Munich v Hamburg SV - 9:30a on FS1
Bobby was left out of the 18 last weekend against Mainz, a healthy scratch it seems. In the event that he makes the field, and you’re a glutton for punishment, you could see him get trounced by Bayern, he might even touch the ball once or twice.
PSG v Metz - 11a on beIN
We’re digging a bit deeper to find our Saturday glimmer of hope. As Muncy and Rob have highlighted, thanks to injuries and PSG’s busy schedule Timothy Weah made his debut last weekend. This weekend PSG’s game will be available on beIN and with their game against Real Madrid on Tuesday it seems there’s a decent chance Weah could make the field again when PSG face off against bottom of the table Metz. Step aside Pulisic, here comes the future.
Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Monchengladbach - 12:30p on FS2
Fabian Johnson remains out with a back injury. The game may have more impact to BVB, Schalke and Frankfurt than Gladbach regardless.
Getafe v Levante - 12:30p on beIN Espanol
Shaq Moore hasn’t seen the field since mid January but Levante’s game will be available on the beIN network if things should happen to change.
Real Salt Lake v LAFC - 3:30p on Univision
Walker Zimmerman didn’t see the field for LAFC in their season opener but hold on to your hats, here come’s Salt Lake with Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman! Much more interesting for the future is RSL’s deep “youth” pool with the likes of Danilo Acosta, Justen Glad, and Brooks Lennon who each received their first Senior team callup in January.
Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Frankfurt - 1p on FS2
The biggest game of the Bundesliga weekend could feature an American on either side. It’s highly likely that Timothy Chandler will start for Frankfurt, he’s been a man on fire since returning from injury. On the Dortmund side, the recent pattern had been for Pulisic to start the Europa League games and come off the bench in their Bundesliga matches but in Thursday’s game he started on the bench and entered around the 60th minute, providing the assist on Dortmund’s only goal just moments later. If Pulisic isn’t in the starting lineup on Sunday it may be time to be concerned that he’s sliding into more of a super sub role. The game is significant for both teams as they are sitting at 3rd and 4th in the table, tied with 42 points each.
Werder Bremen v FC Cologne - 3:30p on FS2
A pair of games on Monday kicks off with a resurgent Aron Johannsson likely taking the field when Werder Bremen take on bottom of the table FC Cologne. Neither team would seem to have much to play for, as Cologne seem destined for relegation and Werder seeming safe. However, things might change quickly if Cologne, who got a shock win against RB Leipzig recently, were able to pick of Werder.
Stoke City v Manchester City - 4p on NBC Universo
Digging a little deeper again here, and it may not be worth the pain, but Geoff Cameron and Stoke City take on leaders Manchester City on Monday afternoon. Cameron has gotten 90’ the last couple of games out so seems likely to see some time again Monday. Unfortunately Stoke sit second to last and are winless in their last five. Any result against Man City would be huge as Stoke need to gain only a couple of points to get free of the relegation zone.