Photo courtesy of TSG Hoffenhaim
AMSTERDAM — American exports get back in the game this weekend, including a matchup that should see four US internationals dress in the same Bundesliga contest for the first time ever. All times listed in ET.
Hoffenheim vs. Hannover 96 (Saturday, 9:30 am)
Americans: Steve Cherundolo (H96), Joseph Gyau, Fabian Johnson, Daniel Williams (H'heim) — While Cherundolo is expected to sit, Hoffenheim wing prospect Gyau has been named in the selection for the first time. With their back line decimated by injuries and African Cup of Nations departures, the home side will start Williams in central defense, perhaps with Johnson at left back.
Hoffenheim have settled for shares in four of five at home. At the same time, Hannover have drawn four straight Bundesliga matches and are also winless in seven. The Reds have yet to win in three tries at Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Everton vs. Blackburn (Saturday, 10 am on FOX Soccer)
Americans: Landon Donovan, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard (EVE) — The LA Galaxy loan star will get his first close-up look at Rovers while trying to break a string of four straight EPL appearances without a win.
Backed up by Hahnemann, Howard gets to face one of his favorite recent opponents. The US netminder has five wins and five clean sheets in his last seven starts against Blackburn, and has not conceded to them in 256 minutes.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham (Sunday, 8:30 am on FOX Soccer)
American: Brad Friedel (Spurs) — The veteran will make his record 288th consecutive EPL start hoping to trim Tottenham's title deficit to leaders City down to two points. Friedel has six wins and two draw in his last nine road starts.
Each side will be missing key cogs for this one; Spurs loan striker Emmanuel Adebayor cannot play against his parent club, while the Citizens are without Vincent Kompany due to a ban and African Cup of Nations participant Yaya Touré.
Norwich City vs. Chelsea (Saturday, 7:45 am on ESPN2)
American: Zak Whitbread (NOR) — The American will see plenty of Fernando Torres as Norwich seek their first three-game EPL win streak since 1993. The victim that day? Yup, Chelsea.
The Blues have traditionally not fared well at Carrow Road, but did manage a 3-1 win the last time over in 2005. New defender Gary Cahill should dress for the visitors, but may not start on his debut.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Lecce vs. Chievo (Sunday, 9 am)
American: Michael Bradley (CV) — With the US midfielder steadily rising in Serie A status, ninth-place Chievo head to the boot heel looking to snap a four-game win drought on the Italian road.
The Flying Donkeys have lost three straight at Lecce by an 8-2 count. However, Sunday's hosts have yet to win a home match this season, dropping seven of eight.
AZ Alkmaar vs. Ajax (Sunday, 8:30 am on ESPN3)
American: Jozy Altidore (AZ) — Following Thursday's KNVB Cup win in Amsterdam, AZ have made the short drive north to prepare for a fast Eredivisie rematch. Altidore will again need to make impact off the bench, with manager Gertjan Verbeek saying he's sticking with the winning line-up.
The Cheese Farmers have scored exactly two goals in five consecutive home meetings with Ajax, but two of those occasions were losses. They'll need to watch Siem de Jong, who has three goals in the last three Noord-Holland derbies.
BEST OF THE REST
Fulham (Clint Dempsey) vs. Newcastle — Sat. 10 am on FOX Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv
Kortrijk vs. Anderlecht (Sacha Kljestan) — Sat. noon
Rangers (Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu) vs. Aberdeen — Sun. 10 am