Steve Cherundolo with Hannover
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American Exports: Bundesliga season preview

AMSTERDAM — With the Bundesliga set to kick off the new season this weekend, it's time to take a peek ahead at what's in store for the Americans playing in Germany's honor division.

This season, there is a fourth Champions League slot on offer, which means six teams in one of the most competitive tables on the continent will now earn berths into Europe.

Not counting Daniel Williams at Freiburg, who has the option to play for both Germany and the US, seven Americans are currently on the first team roster of Bundesliga clubs — though one or two of those will likely move elsewhere by September.

Furthermore, there are US prospects cutting teeth on reserve sides all over the Bundesliga and a few could break through this season. Prime suspects include Hoffenheim winger Joseph Gyau, Mainz midfielder Jared Jeffrey, Kaiserslautern striker Andrew Wooten, Borussia Dortmund striker Terence Boyd and Nürnberg striker Jann George.

BAYER LEVERKUSEN

US Player: David Yelldell (GK)

Player Outlook: While injured starter René Adler rehabs for the next couple of months, Yelldell will fill in so long as he doesn't blow his chance. Their German Cup collapse last weekend was only slightly his fault, so that shouldn't change the manager's plan. The defense in front of Yelldell still needs to gel, so he should be kept busy while in the lineup.

Team Outlook: The eternal bridesmaid should struggle to repeat last season's second place finish. Of course, they seem likely to add a key player to midfield before the window closes, so their outlook could still change some. As things stand, Bayer should safely aim for the top five.

BORUSSIA MÖNCHENGLADBACH

US Player: Michael Bradley (M)

Player Outlook: It seems pretty clear that the Foals expect Bradley to be gone before August ends. For the moment, he has mild interest from Bologna, Napoli and Roma, but nobody has moved past the flirting stage. If he somehow ends up staying at 'Gladbach through winter, it would be hard to imagine them keeping him on the bench if they stumble out of the gate again.

Team Outlook: Despite a few nice additions — most notably wingbacks Oscar Wendt and Matthias Zimmermann — another relegation scrape appears to be in the cards. Of course, it may not ultimately be Bradley’s concern.

HANNOVER 96

US Player: Steve Cherundolo (D)

Player Outlook: The captain will hold down right back faithfully and take part in his first UEFA tournament action when the Europa League playoff round kicks off in mid-August.

Team Outlook: The Reds have made just a few mildly exciting additions thus far, so one must obviously wonder if they can handle a lengthy foray into Europe from a personnel standpoint. For now, the prospect of them repeating last season's fourth place finish looks to be a sucker bet. Mid-table seems a more appropriate target with the current group.

HERTHA BERLIN

US Players: John Anthony Brooks (D), Alfredo Morales (D/M)

Player Outlooks: Morales has had a strong preseason and may be able to claim a utility role off the bench. Brooks is on the injury shelf for a while, but Hertha likes him and he could debut for the first team later in the term.

Team Outlook: The Old Lady have enough talent on hand to survive, even if they've only added some nice complimentary pieces this summer. If the young veteran attackers (Patrick Ebert, Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Raffael, Adrian Ramos) play to potential, they could surprise a few people.

FC NÜRNBERG

US Player: Timothy Chandler (D/M)

Player Outlook: The youngster will start the season at right back, but some of last season's top wide attackers have departed, so don't be shocked if he sees time up the wing at some point. Either way, Chandler will continue to run the flank with abandon and curl sinister crosses into the box.

Team Outlook: As noted, what was already a mediocre attack really needs the fresh blood to contribute right away. Considering that and the fact that several big Bundesliga names underperformed last season, Der Club would probably do very well just to finish in the top 10 again.

SCHALKE

US Player: Jermaine Jones (M)

Player Outlook: It's hard to say. He still may leave if someplace he actually wants to go is willing to pay big. While in Gelsenkirchen, he could end up starting again or be frozen out. We shall see.

Team Outlook: One would think that the Miners can't struggle as much in league play as last season, nor is it likely they can repeat the Champions League semifinal run. That being said, there's no reason the players in that locker room can't get Schalke back in the top four for the sixth time in eight seasons.