Early word out of Chelsea and Lille indicate that Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah, while nearing returns, remain out this weekend for their respective clubs. But rather than dwelling on the players we can’t watch this weekend let’s jump right into a look at those that we can see. Here’s what we’ll be watching:
Hertha Berlin v Schalke 04 - 2:30p on FS2
One player who has returned from injury is Schalke’s Weston McKennie who saw 10’ off the bench in the team’s humbling 5-0 loss at the hands of Bayern Munich. Schalke were already down 4-0 when McKennie entered the game and Bayern would take on one more in the final minutes. Clearly it was a poor result for Schalke but it was good to see McKennie back on the field six weeks removed from a should injury suffered against Frankfurt in mid December. The loss dropped Schalke to sixth place in the Bundesliga standings, just barely on the positive side of the European competition cut line.
This weekend Schalke face a 13th place Hertha Berlin side who are coming off a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg and are now 3-2-2 since Jurgen Klinsmann took over at the end of November. Expectations are that McKennie should see a more substantial role moving forward.
- The USWNT will face Panama at 8:30p on FS1 in an Olympic qualifying match. SSFC will have separate coverage of the match.
RB Leipzig v Borussia Monchengladbach - 12:30p on FS2
Tyler Adams has played three straight games since returning from his injury that kept him out the first half of the season. Interestingly, Adams has started at right back in two of the three games. The league leading Leipzig side saw a rare loss to Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, just the third loss of the season for a team that now sits just one point ahead of Bayern Munich in first place. The team are in the midst of a challenging stretch where they will place third place Borussia Monchengladbach, have a cup match against the Frankfurt side who just handed them a loss, and then face second place Bayern all in the span of just over a week.
It’s possible that on the other side of the pitch fellow American Fabian Johnson will see some minutes as well. Johnson has rarely seen the field this season but received a start and extended minutes last weekend in the teams 3-1 win over Mainz. With the win Gladbach drew within two points of first place Leipzig and win would see them make a jump in the standings.
- Indications out of Chelsea suggest that Christian Pulisic remains out this weekend as his team faces Leicester City at 7:30a on NBCSN.
- Giovanni Reyna has seen minutes off the bench two weeks in a row for fourth place Borussia Dortmund. The team faces eleventh place Union Berlin at 9:30a on FS2.
- The USMNT “camp cupcake edition” will play Costa Rica in a friendly on ESPN at 3:55p Saturday afternoon. Gregg Berhalter has said the lineup will include a mix of veterans and youngsters.
- Sebastian Saucedo has been seeing regular playing time for Pumas UNAM who play Santos Laguna at 10p on ESPN Deportes.
Off the beaten path:
- Fortuna Dusseldorf and Eintracht Franfurt play at 930a on Fox Sports Match Pass. Zack Steffen has missed the past several matches due to injury but Alfredo Morales and Timothy Chandler are both likely to see the field.
- Josh Sargent has two straight starts but was not producing results for a struggling Werder Bremen side that has lost five of their past six, scoring just two goals in those games, as they’ve fallen into the relegation playoff spot. At 9:30a on Fox Sports Match Pass they will play a 12th place Augsburg side that has lost three straight.
Paderborn v Wolfsburg - Noon on FS2
If reports are accurate it seems that John Anthony Brooks has found himself in the doghouse again. The centerback was held out of the teams most recent match, a 2-1 loss to Hertha Berlin, which was their third straight loss. The poor stretch has dropped a Wolfsburg team that looked to have European hopes down to 10th place in the Bundesliga.
Prior to his benching Brooks had started nine straight games for Wolfsburg but separate of injuries it’s been unusual for the centerback to be held out at all so this situation will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward.
What else are you watching this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.