In our first match day of February Christian Pulisic will be looking to start for the first time in six weeks, Tyler Adams will somehow try to build on a Man of the Matchday debut, and Weston McKennie makes a likely return following suspension. Let’s get right to it:
Hannover 96 v RB Leipzig - 2:30p on FS2
Tyler Adams started for the first time last weekend in just his second game since moving from the MLS to the Bundesliga and it was a dream start for the young man who was named the Bundesliga’s Man of the Matchday for his performance in RB Leipzig’s 4-0 dismantling of Fortuna Dusseldorf.
With such a solid debut it would not be a bit surprising to see Adams in the lineup again Friday for the teams match against Hannover 96. Leipzig currently sit in fourth place, the final Champions League spot in the Bundesliga and will be looking to add to their point total against a hapless Hannover side that hasn’t won a game since early November.
Bobby Wood was a healthy scratch for Hannover last weekend, not even making the matchday squad for their game against Dortmund. It was a bit surprising given that Bobby had only failed to appear twice previously and had started the large majority of those games. Perhaps it shouldn’t be too shocking though though given that Wood had produced just 3 goals in 15 appearances and the team is averaging less than a goal per game. Hannover were handled rather soundly without Wood, loosing 5-1 to league leading Dortmund and following the game they sacked their manager. It will be worth watching to see if Bobby’s benching lingers and what impact a new manager might have on the team as they try to climb up from the relegation zone.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund - 9:30a on FS1
Christian Pulisic has appeared just once in the past three matches for Borussia Dortmund with his last start coming prior to the break in mid December but that all seems likely to change over the next couple of weeks as BVB now enter a stretch where they will play midweek games each of the next two weeks, first the dfb Pokal next week and then their first leg of their Champions League match with Tottenham the following week, all sandwiched around their regular Bundesliga action on the weekends of course. One would suspect that Pulisic will get 1-2 starts over that stretch with additional minutes off the bench as well though it will be interesting to see how club manager Favre prioritizes the competitions and manages the minutes of his players during this stretch. Dortmund are coming off a 5-1 drubbing of Hannover and sit six points above Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
This weekend Dortmund face fifth place Eintracht Frankfurt who sit 17 points out of first place but just 3 points behind RB Leipzig for that fourth Champions League spot. There’s been no recent news on Timothy Chandler who is still making his way back from injury.
Schalke 04 v Borussia Monchengladbach - 12:30p on FS2
Schalke were without the services of Weston McKennie last weekend in a 2-2 draw with Hertha Berlin as the young American was serving a one game suspension due to yellow card accumulation. McKennie should be back this weekend as Schalke look to make a push for a top six spot and qualification for European plan next season. While currently down in twelfth Schalke sit just six points back of six place Hertha in what is once again a crowded middle tier of the Bundesliga. They’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend facing third place Borussia Monchengladbach who have lost just twice in the past three months, stumbling against RB Leipzig and league leading Dortmund.
Unfortunately for USMNT fans Fabian Johnson has found it difficult to work himself into a consistent role with Gladbach, once again failing to appear in their past two games. Johnson has seen just a handful of starts all season though his versatility has been an asset to the team as he’s played down the entire right side as well as seen some action on the left as well.
- Chelsea look to bounce back from an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Bournemouth when they face Danny Williams and Huddersfield Town Saturday at 10a on NBCSN. Williams remains out with a knee injury for last place Huddersfield who sit six points back of their next closest opponent.
- The USMNT faces Costa Rica at 3:30p on Fox and Unimas. SSFC will again have full coverage.
- While he has started, and even captained, for Leon in Cup play William Yarbrough has yet to appear for the team in League play this season. They face Cruz Azul at 8p on Univision Deportes.
- Joe Corona has similarly appeared just in Cup matches for Tijuana. They face Toluca in league action at 10:06p on FS1.
- Michael Orozco and Lobos BUAP face Pachuca at 5p on Univision Deportes. Lobos are 2-2 coming off back to back losses and looking to get the ship righted.