All times Pacific
Josh Sargent: Werder Bremen at Bayern Munich, Saturday, 6:30 AM
Sargent is out until the winter break as he recovers from a muscle injury. Struggling Bremen have an unenviable task this weekend, going away to Bayern with the Bavarians needing a win.
Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales and Tyler Adams: Fortuna Dusseldorf vs. RB Leipzig, Saturday, 9:30 AM
Whether this game becomes must-watch for Americans depends on if Adams makes the 18-man squad for Leipzig — he has yet to so far this year, but the midfielder is reportedly close to a return and is expected back before the winter break. On the other side, Steffen and Morales have become mainstays for Dusseldorf this season, though the side is winless in four and sitting in the relegation playoff place. Any home game is an important one for Dusseldorf, but they’ll be hard-pressed to get something against the league’s highest-scoring side. Steffen in particular will be leaned on heavily to prove his worth Saturday.
John Brooks: Wolfsburg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, Sunday, 6:30 AM
Brooks too has a difficult challenge this week, although he’ll have the Wolfsburg home support at his back against the league leaders on Sunday. Despite sitting in ninth, Wolfsburg have allowed the fewest goals in the Bundesliga, so Brooks and his defensive colleagues are living up to their end of the deal; it’s the attack that’s held the Wolves back. Righting that ship against the top side in the Bundesliga may prove a challenge, but Wolfsburg should be able to keep this a tight, low-scoring contest.
Weston McKennie: Schalke vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Sunday, 9:00 AM
McKennie has been a staple for Schalke, who are playing well and sitting in fourth place. The Royal Blues have an important game this week in their attempts to remain in that position as they host Frankfurt. Wherever McKennie is played — he’s been used as a center back and in the midfield recently — he continues to impress for Schalke, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be out there this weekend, be it in the starting XI or as one of the first substitutes off the bench.
Christian Pulisic: Chelsea vs. Bournemouth, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Pulisic came off early in Chelsea’s midweek Champions League win over Lille, presumably to rest his legs a bit for the weekend’s match. Bournemouth are struggling and are currently dealing with a wave
DeAndre Yedlin: Newcastle at Burnley, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Yedlin hasn’t played in a few weeks due to a hip injury, although he could be back in the squad Saturday after it was reported last week that he had a chance to play. Regardless, the injury doesn’t seem too serious. Yedlin has been mostly solid this season for the Magpies, who have won four of six and sit in 11th place, since returning from injury.
Timothy Weah: Lille vs. Montpellier, Friday, 11:45 AM
Weah is back in training, but it appears he will not be playing anytime soon, as confirmed by Lille’s official injury report recently. His hamstring injury is expected to keep him out of Lille’s side until potentially the Ligue 1 winter break. LOSC have bowed out of European competition with a fourth-place finish in their Champions League group.
Turkish Super Lig
Tyler Boyd: Besiktas at Yeni Malatyaspor, Sunday, 8:00 AM
Unsurprisingly, Boyd started Besiktas’ midweek Europa League drubbing at the hands of Wolves, which confirmed their position as dead last in the group. This all but signifies that Boyd will not be in the lineup this weekend against Yeni Malatyaspor, as the winger hasn’t appeared in a Super Lig match since November 10, with that being just a short 15-minute substitute appearance. Boyd seems locked into his role as a cup player, which isn’t great considering Besiktas are now out of the Europa League.
Sergino Dest: Ajax at AZ Alkmaar, Sunday, 7:15 AM
Dest subbed on at halftime of Ajax’s disappointing loss to Valencia, which bounced them out of the Champions League. He will surely be ready to go this weekend against AZ Alkmaar, but he’s locked in a positional battle with Noussair Mazraoui, who has had the upper hand on starts lately. Given both logged midweek minutes, it’s anybody’s guess who Erik ten Hag will roll out this weekend as his outside backs.
Ethan Horvath: Club Brugge vs. Mechelen, Sunday, 9:00 AM
There’s almost no chance Horvath sees the field this week. The keeper is rooted solidly behind Simon Mignolet, and in the span of a week, hasn’t appeared in any of the three competitions Brugge is active in. Don’t expect to see him on the field any time soon.
Bobby Wood: Hamburg at Sandhausen, Sunday, 4:30 AM
After not sniffing the pitch all year, Wood has appeared in three of the last four games for Hamburg, including two starts. However, he was dropped back to the bench last week, and Hamburg didn’t get a great string of results when he was in the side. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him find the field one way or another, but Wood probably isn’t in line for another start this weekend.
Tim Ream: Fulham at Brentford, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Ream logged a full shift in the midweek against Preston, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be right back in the heart of the defense on the weekend against Brentford. Ream has started all but one Championship match this season and is tied for second-most minutes on the squad, only trailing his center back partner Alfie Mawson. Fulham sit third currently but are slipping after losing back-to-back matches.
Duane Holmes: Derby County vs. Millwall, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Speaking of stalwarts, Holmes wasn’t one at the start of the year, but he has come on strong for Derby County throughout the second quarter of the season. Holmes played a full 90 minutes on Wednesday against Sheffield Wednesday in a 1-1 draw. The No. 10 is a focal point in the Derby attack, so expect him to again be right in the middle of the pitch this weekend for a mid-table battle against Milwall.
Antonee Robinson: Wigan vs. Huddersfield, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Just like the previous two Championship players, Robinson too went 90 minutes in the midweek as Wigan scrapped out a point against West Brom. The 23rd-place side is in desperate need of points and needs to convert on a chance at home against fellow struggling side Huddersfield. Robinson is not only the highest rated player in the side, according to whoscored.com, but he is also the team’s leading minute-getter, so he will surely be in the lineup. The left back is one yellow card away from suspension.
Matt Miazga: Reading at Stoke City, Saturday, 7:00 AM
It’s four-for-four in American Championship players who started and put in a full shift during the midweek, with Miazga and Reading limping to a 1-1 draw against last place Barnsley. Miazga has been on one side of a three-man backline all year, so he should be in his normal spot this weekend against Stoke in another bottom-third battle with both sides needing points. Miazga has also kept his play clean lately, picking up just two yellows on the season –– despite 15 starts at center back –– and not being booked since late October.