All times Pacific
Zack Steffen: Fortuna Dusseldorf at Hertha Berlin, Friday, 11:30 AM
He’s been the best-performing goalkeeper in the Bundesliga (and maybe even Europe) in the early part of the season, so there’s no reason to think Steffen will be anywhere but in the Dusseldorf net Friday in Berlin. Despite Steffen’s incredible start to the campaign, Fortuna have just one point in their last
Tyler Adams: RB Leipzig at Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday, 6:30 AM
Adams is back in full training for Leipzig, but there’s still no timetable for him to return to game action as he missed out on both of RB’s squads this week. After losing their first two games of the season this past week, first to Schalke in the Bundesliga and then to Lyon in the Champions League, Leipzig will look to rebound in a tough matchup away to a dangerous Leverkusen side that’s also hoping to forget about a tough midweek UCL defeat to Juventus.
Weston McKennie: Schalke vs. Koln, Saturday, 9:30 AM
With four consecutive wins at their backs, including last week’s surprising triumph in Leipzig, Schalke will host a Koln side that’s stuck in the relegation zone early. McKennie isn’t quite a nailed-on starter, but the 21-year-old midfielder has played in all six of Schalke’s Bundesliga matches so far and has cemented himself as a vital cog in manager David Wagner’s system.
John Brooks: Wolfsburg vs. Union Berlin, Sunday, 6:30 AM
Brooks wasn’t in the Wolfsburg 18-man squad that drew with Saint-Etienne in the Europa League on Thursday. There is a bit of hope that he may be ready to return from his hamstring injury and play Sunday against Union Berlin, but the more likely scenario is that he returns after the upcoming international break. Wolfsburg have held up well in his absence as they’re one of just two unbeaten sides left in the German top flight.
Josh Sargent: Werder Bremen at Eintracht Frankfurt, Sunday, 9:00 AM
Last weekend, Sargent made his impact felt, running his tail off throughout the contest and assisting on Bremen’s equalizer in a noteworthy 2-2 away draw against Borussia Dortmund. Given Werder’s serious injury problems and that solid showing a week ago, it seems likely that manager Florian Kohfeldt rolls the 19-year-old out again as the striker from St. Louis looks to build steam early in his first full season at the senior level.
Christian Pulisic: Chelsea at Southampton, Sunday, 6:00 AM
The consternation regarding Pulisic’s lack of gametime continued on these shores this week, and it seems very unlikely that the situation has changed enough for the 21-year-old to earn a start Sunday at Southampton. The bigger question is whether or not he’ll even make the bench. At the moment, Pulisic is on the very outer fringe of Frank Lampard’s squad; he’ll get his chance eventually, but it would be surprising to see the attacker earn significant minutes this weekend.
DeAndre Yedlin: Newcastle vs. Manchester United, Sunday, 8:30 AM
Finally, Yedlin made his season debut last weekend, getting a short runout as Newcastle were lambasted 5-0 by Leicester. It’s uncertain whether the right back is ready for a full 90-minute effort, but considering the weakness of 19th-place Newcastle’s defense so far, manager Steve Bruce could be tempted to put the 26-year-old in the squad against a Manchester United side that has plenty of attacking talent but has yet to really hit its stride so far. Yedlin should be in the 18 at the very least, though.
Timothy Weah: Lille vs. Nimes, Sunday, 6:00 AM
Weah remains sidelined with a hamstring tear, and the fact that there’s been no recent news about the winger indicates that he probably won’t be returning this weekend. Lille are unbeaten in four in the league (but have lost their first two Champions League ties) and sit in fourth. With a win, they’ll make up ground on at least one of the two teams ahead of them, as second-place Angers visit leaders PSG.
Turkish Super Lig
Tyler Boyd: Besiktas vs. Alanyaspor, Sunday, 6:30 AM
Boyd got a chance last weekend but failed to take it, struggling in the first half and being subbed out at the break. He then went as an unused substitute in Besiktas’ Europa League defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday. The winger seems to be teetering on the edge of the starting XI, at least in domestic play, but he needs to start doing something with the minutes he’s getting. Besiktas are in horrible form early with just one win in any competition, while Alanyaspor are unbeaten and top of the table, so the struggling powerhouse has a tall task ahead.
Sergino Dest: Ajax at Groningen, Sunday, 3:15 AM
At this point, it’s fair to say that Dest is the first-choice right back after starting another Champions League contest in the midweek, a 3-0 drubbing of Valencia. That midweek involvement could lead to a rest for the 18-year-old on the weekend as Ajax battle 16th place ADO Den Haag. Regardless of whether he plays on the weekend (and despite the fact that he’s put off making the decision about his international future for another month at least), Dest has become a genuine
Ethan Horvath: Club Brugge vs. Genk, Sunday, 5:30 AM
There is no reason to think Horvath will replace Simon Mignolet this weekend, as the Yank has seemingly been relegated to Belgian Cup duties only. It would be hard for Brugge, who are leading the Jupiler League, to justify the change, either.
Danish Super League
Jonathan Amon: Nordsjaelland vs. Lyngby, Friday, 10:00 AM
A crude translation of this Danish article posted Thursday says that Amon will again be missing action this weekend for Nordsjaelland’s matchup with Lyngby. After making a couple of substitute appearances then missing out last week, it’s clear that Amon just isn’t fully back from injury. He appears close, but is not 100 percent just yet.
Bobby Wood: Hamburg vs. Greuther Fuerth, Saturday, 4:00 AM
Wood remains on the fringe of the fringe of the Hamburg setup, and without a start this year, it would be unlikely to see him in the XI this weekend. Hamburg sit second and have 19 goals, so they have little reason to change up a front line that has been the league’s best so far.
Sebastian Soto: Hannover at Dynamo Dresden, Saturday, 4:00 AM
Soto has played four competitive minutes all season for Hannover. That’s a pretty strong indication he won’t be in the lineup this week. The 15th-place side has been pretty poor all season so far, which could bode well for the 19-year-old if they are looking to spark their season with a change of personnel, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point that he plays Saturday.
Tim Ream: Fulham vs. Charlton, Saturday, 4:30 AM
Ream has started nine of 10 games for Fulham this year and gone the distance every time he’s been included in the lineup. The stalwart logged 90 minutes in the midweek, and he should be right back in the heart of the defense against a newly promoted side punching above its weight so far, sitting in 10th. It’s a critical midtable battle early in the season as the eighth-place Cottagers have their sights set higher up the table.
Antonee Robinson: Wigan at Sheffield Wednesday, Saturday, 4:30 AM
Robinson has been one of the only bright spots in a horrid season so far for Wigan. The 22-year-old should find himself at his normal left back role this weekend as the Latics — who have 11 points in 10 games — try to get back on track.
Duane Holmes: Derby County vs. Luton Town, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Holmes has started the last four games for Derby since returning from injury and seems to be an obvious choice for another runout in the XI this weekend. The central midfielder is settling back into the side, and though he hasn’t put up any truly impressive performances yet, he does have an assist that he picked up last week. Derby, like Robinson’s Wigan, are desperately looking for a boost up the table, currently sitting in 16th.
Matt Miazga: Reading at Bristol City, Saturday, 7:00 AM
After coming back in the League Cup last week against Wolves and playing impressively in a draw that saw the Royals go out pens, Miazga was left out entirely last weekend and then made the bench in the midweek. The latter saw Reading get blasted 4-1 at home by Fulham, so it wouldn’t be out of the question that the Royals go for another option at the back, where Miazga would probably be the first man up. Despite his lack of recent minutes, there’s a good chance he wiggles into the starting lineup.