Weekend preview

Sargent vs. Brooks, Marsch's title run, Reyna vs. Hertha highlight weekend

There is a full slate of games for American players and coaches in Germany, Denmark, and Austria. In future weeks, the summer of soccer will only continue to pick up with the restart of leagues throughout the world. As he does every Friday, here is Brian Sciaretta with his weekend preview of the best games to watch from an American perspective. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
June 05, 2020
2:50 AM

THE SUMMER OF SOCCER is gaining momentum. Typically, summer soccer for American fans involves MLS and the U.S. national team. But now it will include clubs from around the world playing meaningful games. Even behind closed doors, it’s been great to watch leagues on a regular basis.

Come July, this list will also include MLS and leagues from Italy, England, Spain and others. For now, Germany, Austria, and Demark are providing a healthy basis for Americans abroad.

For the upcoming days, here are the 9 best games to follow from an American perspective. One note is that Weston Mckennie is suspended for Schalke's game on Saturday vs Union Berlin.


RB Leipzig - Paderborn

Saturday, June 5: 9:30am EST


It is tough to predict whether Tyler Adams will start for RB Leipzig or if he is simply a regular option off the bench. Lately he’s only started due to being a late injury replacement. Aside from that, he’s come off the bench. But coming off the bench, he’s done quite well but now is not the time for manager Julian Nagelsmann to experiment. Leipzig sits in third place in the Bundesliga but only has a two point lead on a Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, Paderborn is deep into last place and will be relegated after this season. A club like that can be dangerous as the pressure is off and players are simply hoping to impress and maybe earn a transfer or a starting spot in the lineup next season.

Leipzig is heavily favored and that probably means Nagelsmann will try to go offensive in this game early, gain a lead, and then shut it down. That likely means Adams will come off the bench to see with the goal of seeing a win out. But maybe Naglesmann likes his offense enough to put Adams out there as an effective press against Paderborn.

Eintracht Frankfurt - Mainz 05

Saturday, June 5: 9:30am EST


Eintracht Frankfurt is on a roll right now with seven points out if its last three games. This run is probably enough to ensure safety from relegation – barring an epic collapse. This past midweek, it exposed terrible set piece defending from Werder Bremen en route to a convincing 3-0 win.

American Timothy Chandler has been great this season playing mostly as a winger or a wingback with five goals (all in the second half of the season) although he did not come off the bench against Werder Bremen. That was likely due to squad rotation and the chances are likely he plays in this one.

This will be a big test for Mainz which is now in danger of being caught by either Fortuna Dusseldorf, Werder Bremen, or possibly both in the relegation zone. It since in 15th place, which is the last spot for survival but it has just a one-point lead on Fortuna and a three point lead on Werder. Mainz will need to play with energy in this one as its back is against the wall.


Fortuna Dusseldorf - Hoffenheim

Saturday, June 5: 9:30am EST


Prior to last week, Fortuna Dusseldorf had been surging in its bid for survival with two wins and four draws in its last six Bundesliga games – American midfielder Alfredo Morales had been playing a big part in the team’s effort. But then the team ran into Bayern Munich and was promptly run out of the stadium in a 5-0 loss to the league leaders.

It remains to be seen if Fortuna can easily shake off that performance or whether that loss left them shaken. Hoffenheim sits in seventh place and is only outside of sixth place and a spot in the Europa due to an inferior goal differential compared with Wolfsburg. Hoffenheim has also won its last two games – both against lower half teams Koln and Mainz.


Borussia Dortmund - Hertha BSC

Saturday, June 5: 12:30pm EST


We know the Bundesliga will almost certainly be won again by Bayern Munich which has a seven-point cushion. After Bayern, there are four teams in a close race for the remaining three Champions League positions. Borussia Dortmund sit second with 60 points, RB Leipzig has 58 points, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen each have 56 points.

Dortmund is looking to continue to put more daylight in its race for second place. Its opponent on Saturday, Hertha BSC, is surging since it replaced former U.S boss Jurgen Klinsmann as manager. The club has won two in a row, and is undefeated in its last six games – posting three wins and three draws over that span.

Young American rising star Gio Reyna is likely to feature in this one but will he make his first Bundesliga start? That remains the question. With the Champions League in the balance, that would be quite a statement and vote in confidence in the son of the former U.S captain.


Werder Bremen - Wolfsburg

Sunday, June 7: 7:30am EST


Two Americans will face off on Sunday when Werder Bremen hosts Wolfsburg. It will be a game that has importance (albeit a different level of importance) for both teams.

After making up ground in its bid for survival, Werder Bremen took a step back midweek in a dismal 3-0 loss to Eintract Frankfurt. American forward Josh Sargent came off the bench in the loss but was let down by his teammates set piece defending.

Wolfsburg will be a challenging opponent for Werder Bremen but if Bremen can get a result, it could lead to momentum for a stretch-run that has a favorable schedule. After this game, three of its final four opponents are lower than 12th place (Koln, Paderborn, and Mainz). An uphill battle with Bayern Munich is the one remaining top-level opponent.

Meanwhile, Wolfsburg is trying to hold onto sixth place and the league’s final Europa League spot. U.S. national team central defender John Brooks has been noticeably consistent since returning to the team’s starting lineup in late February.

This game could be interesting for American fans as it could feature Brooks defending Sargent with both teams having a lot on the line.


VfB Stuttgart - Vfl Osnabruck

Sunday, June 7: 7:30am EST


Coached by New Jersey native Pellegrino Matarazzo, VfB Stuttgart is aiming for promotion and now sits in second place. Its lead on third place (the promotional playoff position) Hamburg SV is just two points. It is also just three points ahead of fourth place Heidenheim.

A win over 14th place Osnabruck would help ensure that it remains in the automatic promotional position.

Matarazzo’s task of getting one of Germany’s biggest clubs promoted in his first head coaching job is enormous. If successful, however, it would be one of the most impressive feats accomplished by an American manager born and raised in the United States.


Hobro - Lyngby

Danish Superliga
Sunday, June 7: 11:00am EST


Hobro is in a tough relegation battle in the Danish Superliga but made up some key ground last weekend with an upset win over Randers combined with a Sonderjyske loss to Brondby. It will now have the opportunity to close the gap between it and Sonderjyske to just a point if the results are similar. Sonderjyske, however, have a much easier assignment against last-place Silkeborg.

With the American duo of Christian Cappis in central midfield and Emmanuel Sabbi at right wing likely to start, Hobro will take on eighth Lyngby on Sunday. Both players have had very strong years and are in position to be in contention for the U.S. U-23 team. Sabbi will leave Hobro at the end of the season for OB. Cappis, meanwhile, could be the subject of transfer rumors as he has shown well this season.

Hartberg - Red Bull Salzburg

Austrian Bundesliga
Sunday, June 7: 11:00am EST


American manager Jesse Marsch is coming off a great week with Red Bull Salzburg. It started with his club moving ahead of LASK for first place due to LASK receiving a six point penalty for conducting illegal training sessions during the COVID-19 lockdown. Then his team won the German Cup and Marsch became the first manager born and raised in the United States to win a trophy in Europe. Finally, his team won its first Austrian Bundesliga game midweek while LASK lost.

As a result, Red Bull Salzburg has a five-point lead atop the championship portion standings with nine games left to play. Should Salzburg finish atop, Marsch would win a double in his first season leading the team. That is made even more impressive given the departure of three key starters (including Earling Halaand) in January.

SKN St. Poelten - Austria Vienna

Austrian Bundesliga
Saturday, June 6: 11:00am EST


United States U-23 central defender Erik Palmer-Brown has been very important to Austria Vienna this season with the club having a much better record when he plays than when he does not play.


But Austria Vienna can climb out of the relegation half of the standings and into a playoff if they continue to win. But St. Poelten is coming off a 5-0 win over WSG Swarovski Tirol and it featured a huge effort from Philadelphia Union loanee forward Cory Burke who had three goals and an assist in this one. Palmer-Brown will likely factor into defending Burke in this game.

Palmer-Brown is building a strong case to go on loan in a bigger league next year. But he will help his case even more with a strong finish to this season.

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