A relatively light slate this weekend of United States internationals playing abroad could be salvaged by a matchup between two of the premier Americans playing in the Bundesliga, though it is subject to the rotational whims of Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves:
Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund - 10:30a on Fox Deportes
A healthy John Anthony Brooks has lived up to the billing for Wolfsburg so far this season, a 90-minute starter in all nine league games as well as their two cup matches as well. Wolfsburg’s defense has been relatively average for the Bundesliga and is good enough to have the team currently sitting in 10th place after flirting with relegation last season. It’s good to see Brooks healthy and contributing to a solid Bundesliga team, but they’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend as they face a first place Borussia Dortmund team that have scored nine more goals than any other team through the first nine games.
Christian Pulisic has appeared in every game for which he’s been available (missing three due to injury), but has come off the bench for the past two league games while starting Dortmund’s midweek fixtures, a Champions League matchup with Atlético Madrid, and this week’s German Cup match against Union Berlin in which he played a role in all three goals that Dortmund scored. One might assume that level of production would lead to more minutes this weekend, but Pulisic also played the full 120 as Dortmund needed extra time to defeat Union Berlin.
- Ventura Alvarado has started every minute this season for Necaxa and was named captain in their most recent match, a 2-2 draw with Atlas. They face Pachuca at 7p on ESPN Deportes.
- Joe Corona hasn’t appeared in nearly three months for first place América. The team plays Toluca at 9p on ESPN Deportes.
- Michael Orozco has appeared in every game for Lobos BUAP but Rubio Rubin has barely appeared for Tijuana. The two teams face off at 11p Saturday, the game can be seen on Univision.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Fortuna Düsseldorf - 9:30a on FS1
Fabian Johnson has been on the bench or out of the squad all together for Gladbach’s past four league games and a cup game going back to late September, so he seems unlikely to be involved in what could otherwise be another American v American matchup on Sunday. Gladbach have been trucking along just fine without him as well, currently sitting in third place in the Bundesliga.
On the opposite side of the ball, Alfredo Morales will likely take the field for Fortuna Düsseldorf, as he’s started every game for the club this season. Unfortunately, Düsseldorf have lost their last five and currently sit at the bottom of the Bundesliga table.
- Until we see reason to believe otherwise, we’re going to assume that Werder Bremen are toying with us and not speak of any of their players. The team plays Mainz 05 at Noon on FS2.
- Omar Gonzalez and Atlas have climbed out of the Liga MX cellar and sit in second to last place. They will face a León team that has featured William Yarbrough in goal in their last two matches. They face off Sunday at 7p on Univision Deportes.
- Zack Steffen, Will Trap, Gyasi Zardes and the Columbus Crew face Tyler Adams, Tim Parker, Aaron Long and the Supporters Shield winning New York Red Bulls at 3p on ESPN.
- It’s a battle of the Pacific Northwest as the Portland Timbers with Jorge Villafana and (gasp) Jeremy Ebobisse face Cristian Roldan, Stefan Frei and the Seattle Sounders at 5:30p on ESPN. Ebobisse had appeared in just 9 matches for Portland all year but started three of their last four regular season games as well as their opening round playoff game.
- NYCFC with Ben Sweat and Sean Johnson will face an Atlanta United team that lost the Supporters Shield on the last matchday. Atlanta should have American’s Darlington Nagbe, Michael Parkhurst, Greg Garza, and Brad Guzan at their disposal when the teams meet at 7:30p on FS1
- The nightcap features Sporting Kansas City with Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and possibly youngster Gianluca Busio facing off with Real Salt Lake at 10p on FS1. Real Salt Lake will have Brooks Lennon, the ageless Kyle Beckerman, potential sightings of Justen Glad and Sebastian Saucedo as well as the always classy Nick Rimando: