If the USMNT player pool were a stock report things would be looking pretty volatile at the moment. On the one end of the spectrum there are key players who are dealing with injury including Weston McKennie, Timothy Weah, Zack Steffen, and Christian Pulisic who was recently reported to have suffered a setback in his return. There are also players such as Josh Sargent who are struggling in form and John Anthony Brooks getting the cursed “he know’s what he did” line from the coach. On the other end of the spectrum there’s Giovanni Reyna, and well, that’s about it. That’s not entirely fair, Tyler Adams has returned from injury and Timothy Chandler is playing at a high level for Eintracht Frankfurt but Giovanni Reyna. Anyway, let’s get to the games and see what we have to watch this weekend.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Augsburg - 2:30p on FS2
As was mentioned above Timothy Chandler has been in top form for Eintracht Frankfurt having scored two goals in their past three games, the first a game winner late against Hoffenheim and the second salvaged a draw with Dusseldorf in the closing moments of the game. Frankfurt are on a four game unbeaten streak including two wins over second RB Leipzig in league and cup play and sit in 11th place in the league standings. Even with the improved form Frankfurt sit squarely in the middle of the table, they are nine points back of Schalke for sixth and nine points ahead of Fortuna Dusseldorf and relegation.
This weekend Frankfurt will kick things off against Augsburg who sit one position, and one point, ahead of them in the standings. Augsburg is coming off a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen which snapped a three game losing streak. The teams last met in September when Augsburg won 2-1 despite being out-possessed 70/30 and out-shot 22-8. Only 3 of those Eintracht shots were on target a number which they’ll surely hope to improve upon on Friday.
Wolfsburg v Fortuna Dusseldorf - 9:30a on FS1
John Brooks has found himself in the unfamiliar position recently of being healthy but not a preferred option for the manager. Brooks has struggled with injury at times during his career but has always seemed to be in the starting eleven when available. That’s changed recently with reports out of Wolfsburg that the manager is unhappy with Brooks and the playing time would seem to support the assertions. Brooks has not made it off the bench in Wolfsburg’s past two matches but the defense hasn’t improved in that time either. The team is coming off a win over last place Paderborn, a win that snapped a three game losing streak, but they also gave up two goals to one of the more impotent offenses in the league and won because they managed to put four goals in against a leaky defense.
If Brooks does see the field it will likely be against fellow American Alfredo Morales, who has played five straight for Dusseldorf, and perhaps Zack Steffen as well who has recently returned to training. Dusseldorf have just one win in their past ten games and are squarely in the relegation zone with just 16 points through their first 20 games.
- Weston McKennie is doubtful for Schalke this weekend with an ankle injury as they take on last place Paderborn. Schalke won the first meeting 5-1 but have been struggling to get results recently with one win and three draws in their past five league games. The match can be seen at 9:30a on FS2.
- Giovanni Reyna could be in line for more playing time with Marco Reus suffering an injury that will sideline him for the next month. Reyna has been getting regular, albeit brief, appearances for Borussia Dortmund since the start of the second half. BVB are on a three game win streak and this weekend face fifth place Bayer Leverkusen at 12:30p on FS2.
Through the paywall:
- Werder Bremen and Union Berlin meet at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Match Pass. Josh Sargent has found playing time hard to come by recently and has not made the most of the time he has received. The club as a whole is struggling, currently in 16th place and looking like they have a relegation scrap on their hands.
Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig - Noon on FS2
RB Leipzig have had a rough couple of weeks and as a result have given up their lead in the Bundesliga to this weekends opponent Bayern Munich. Leipzig drew with Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend after losing to Entracht Frankfurt the previous weekend and were also bounced from the German Cup this week at the hands of Frankfurt. However, they can get everything back on track this weekend with a win over Bayern that would vault them back into first place.
Bayern Munich won’t just capitulate of course, the team has won eight straight games and has averaged nearly four goals per game over that stretch. If RB Leipzig are going to make a game of it they’ll have to be stout defensively and Tyler Adams will need to be a key player. It should be an exciting game for fans of soccer in general but particularly those interested in what the USMNT youngster can bring to the table.
- Fabian Johnson saw just a token minute off the bench last weekend, one week after getting his first start since August. Fourth place Borussia Monchengladbach will face 14th place Cologne this weekend at 9:30a on FS1.
- To close out the weekend you can catch captain Ventura Alvarado and Necaxa facing Juarez at 9p on TUDN. Necaxa are undefeated in the winter season and are currently in third place.
Let us know what your favorite match of the weekend is or what else your watching in the comments below.