The weekend will get off to a slow start with no televised games on Friday, but rest up to prepare for a full slate on Saturday and Sunday. There will be games in the English Premier League and Liga MX as well as Bundesliga play, including the possibility of Americans facing off head-to-head in matchups on both Saturday and Sunday. Not enough for you? Keep your eye out for some bonus action including Scottish Premier League and the United States Women’s National Team in action on Saturday.
Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Monchengladbach - 9:30a on FS1
Fabian Johnson has started the last two games at right-back for third place Borussia Mönchengladbach. The team lost their last game before the winter break 2-1 to league leading Borussia Dortmund. Johnson’s minutes had been sparse prior to the two game starting streak, with his most previous starts trailing off in mid-September and going through a stretch where he failed to appear for the team at all.
RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - 12:30p on FS1
In our first potential head-to-head matchup of the weekend, there’s a decent chance that the game (from a USMNT fan perspective) will be a disappointment with neither player appearing.
Tyler Adams has just been with his club for two weeks and it wouldn’t be surprising if he fails to make the field for fourth place R.B. Leipzig, though his manager Ralf Ragnik has said that Adams will be included in the matchday squad.
Leipzig head coach Ralf Rangnick has told Kicker that Tyler Adams will be in the 18 man squad to play Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. To transition to the first team so quickly, especially in a match against the league leaders, is very exciting. pic.twitter.com/plPQUZldbF— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) January 17, 2019
On the other side, Christian Pulisic will almost certainly be suiting up for Dortmund, though it wouldn’t be surprising to seem him start the game on the bench as he’s been used in rotation and the team is coming off a long break. Dortmund maintain a six point lead going into the second half of the season and it would be encouraging to see Pulisic maintain a role on the squad over the next several months before his departure to Chelsea as the Black and Yellow push for multiple trophy opportunities.
- Timothy Chandler has recently returned to individual training but remains out for Eintracht Frankfurt, they play Freiburg at 9:30a on FS2.
- Typically we don’t mention the subscription based games but we’ll make an exception this week for Timothy Weah’s debut with Celtic FC. The team faces Airdrieonians at 12:15p Saturday in a game that will be available on ESPN+.
- The USWNT travel to France to play a friendly against number three ranked France at 2:30p on FS1.
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur - 11a on NBCSN
Tim Ream seems to have recovered his starting spot for Fulham which is good in a vacuum, but the team remains dreadful defensively having given up 49 goals through 22 games this season. The team sits five points from safety and along with Newcastle (DeAndre Yedlin) and Huddersfield Town (Danny Williams) look bound for relegation if they can’t get things turned around, a horrible site for USMNT fans.
This weekend Fulham face third place Tottenham with perhaps a glimmer of hope knowing that the Spurs will be missing Harry Kane for the next month or more with an ankle injury.
Schalke 04 v Wolfsburg - Noon on FS2
The second head to head matchup of Americans in the Bundesliga seems much more likely to produce an engaging viewing experience for USMNT fans as Weston McKennie and Schalke face off against John Brooks and Wolfsburg.
Weston McKennie has been making very regular appearances for Schalke this season, missing just four games and only one due to a coaches decision. The young man has been playing all over the field for the club, including Center Forward, Attacking Mid, Defensive Mid and Center Back as the team looks to both fill holes and find ways to utilize the multi faceted youngster. Haji Wright also appeared in four of the last five matches for Schalke heading into the winter break as they looked to bolster what has been an injury plagued forward position. Schalke currently sit in thirteenth place in the Bundesliga, which is certainly a disappointment given their second place finish last season, and the main culprit has been their inability to find the back of the net. If Wright is brought back after the break and able to find the back of the net consistently he should see some more time moving forward.
On the opposite side of the ball, John Brooks will almost certainly start and play the full 90 minutes. The only game the center back has missed so far this season was a suspension due to yellow card accumulation (knocking on all the wood). Brooks picked up his second assist of the season in Wolfsburgs last game, a 3-2 win over Augsburg. The team has not lost in their last six matches and have moved up to fifth place in the Bundesliga.
- Danny Williams is injured and will be out for a David Wagner-less, last place, Huddersfield Town as they face reigning champion Manchester City at 9:30a on NBCSN.
- Omar Gonzalez and Atlas face Pumas UNAM at 1p on Univision Deportes. Atlas are 1-1 in the Clausura with Gonzalez having played the full 90 in each game.
- The third head to head matchup of the weekend is the most likely to see Americans on both sides going the full 90 as Lobos BUAP and Necaxa face off at 5p on Univision Deportes. Neither Michael Orozco nor Ventura Alvarado have missed a minute for their respective clubs in their 2018-19 campaigns with Alvarado also recently wearing the captains armband on a regular basis.
- Quite the opposite as Leon and Tijuana meet at 9p, also on Univision Deportes. William Yarbrough is back to only starting Cup games for Leon and Joe Corona has seen just 35 minutes of substitute appearance since returning to Tijuana over the winter break.
Let us know how the Americans are looking or what else you’re seeing in the comments below.