All times Pacific
Weston McKennie: Schalke vs. Paderborn, Saturday, 6:30 AM
McKennie has played in each of Schalke’s last three games, starting last weekend’s Bundesliga draw against Hertha before coming off the bench and helping the Royal Blues turn around a 2-0 deficit in a DfB-Pokal triumph over the same opponent. The midfielder has been very good when available and in his natural position this season, both of which should be the case this weekend against bottom side Paderborn at home. Schalke, who sit five points back of a Champions League place, will be heavy favorites to take the three points.
Josh Sargent: Werder Bremen vs. Union Berlin, Saturday, 6:30 AM
It’s been a season of inconsistency for Sargent, who came off the bench twice this week as Bremen lost a game after leading in Bundesliga play before advancing to the DfB-Pokal quarterfinals with a thrilling win over Dortmund. The striker seems to have fallen out of favor somewhat, so it’s unclear as to whether or not he’ll make what would be his ninth league start of the season. Bremen’s season has been a disaster so far, as they sit in the relegation playoff
Zack Steffen, Alfredo Morales and John Brooks: Wolfsburg vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf, Saturday, 6:30 AM
Steffen was back training this week, although this weekend’s trip to John Brooks’s Wolfsburg side looks like it may just be too soon for the keeper to return in time for. That’s not certain, though, and Dusseldorf are certainly ready for their starting netminder to return as they too are struggling mightily, mired in the relegation zone. Morales has been a rare bright spot and has been in decent form of late even as the team has struggled, starting five games in a row, so he figures to start again on Saturday. On the other side, though, Brooks likely will not get a nod in the XI, as he’s been benched over the past few weeks amidst rumors of a disagreement between himself and the manager. It’s a situation to watch, even if Brooks probably won’t be worth viewing this weekend.
Gio Reyna: Borussia Dortmund at Bayer Leverkusen, Saturday, 9:30 AM
Well, Reyna introduced himself to the football world loudly on Tuesday when he scored a truly sensational first career professional goal, showcasing fantastic footwork to beat multiple Bremen defenders before curling home a breathtaking strike (LINK). It wasn’t enough to get Dortmund the win, but it well could earn the 17-year-old a longer look in the coming weeks. That may even come as soon as Saturday when Dortmund visit Leverkusen. BVB captain Marco Reus is expected to miss a month with an injury suffered against Bremen, and manager Lucien Favre said after that he wouldn’t be afraid to throw Reyna in from the start given the skill and confidence he’s shown thus far as a first-team player. Whether he does get a nod in the XI is still unclear, but Reyna is starting to force his way into the Dortmund squad.
Tyler Adams: RB Leipzig at Bayern Munich, Sunday, 9:00 AM
It’s a top-of-the-table showdown at the Allianz as Leipzig visit Bayern, who overtook them at the summit of the Bundesliga last week following RB’s draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. Adams has started each league match since his return from injury, and while he’s mostly been quiet, he has settled back in reasonably well. Still, this will certainly be the hardest game for the 20-year-old since the last time he faced Bayern, in last season’s DfB-Pokal final. With the two sides locked in a fierce battle as the second half of the season kicks into high gear, this game looks like it should be a phenomenal watch.
Christian Pulisic: Chelsea, No Match
DeAndre Yedlin: Newcastle, No Match
Indiana Vassilev: Aston Villa, No Match
Timothy Weah: Lille at Angers, Friday, 11:45 AM
Weah is back in training, but don’t expect to see him back in action against Angers. Lille manager Christophe Galtier reported last week that Weah was going to be held out of action until after their short nine-day break following this weekend's match. That gives Weah a potential return date of February 16, when the side plays Marseille in what could be a massive battle for Champions League spots.
Turkish Super Lig
Tyler Boyd: Besiktas vs. Gaziantep, Saturday, 6:00 AM
After essentially being locked out of Super Lig play to the tune of two league appearances from October to December, Boyd started two weeks ago for Besiktas and came off the bench last week for the side, so he’s slowly working his way back into the squad. The winger was used more in cup competitions, but Besiktas were eliminated from both the Europa League and Turkish Cup, so Boyd will be in a big battle for minutes in the second half. If the last two games are any indication, the signs are slightly positive that he will get more run for the seventh-place side but it’s anybody's guess at the moment.
Sergino Dest: Ajax at Utrecht, Sunday, 3:15 AM
Dest has been in and out of the squad this year, but he took a massive step toward cementing his role in the starting XI with a man-of-the-match performance last time out in a win against PSV. Ajax are looking at a busy week visiting seventh-place Utrecht and then also travelling to a solid Vietsse side for a midweek KNVB Cup quarterfinal match. The right back will surely be involved in one if not both matches, but the league leaders could rest him in the former if they determine he’s needed for the cup match.
Antonee Robinson: Wigan vs. Preston, Saturday, 4:30 AM
After his move to AC Milan fell through, Robinson was not back with the team for enough time to be involved in last weekend’s match, which led to him literally watching from the away stands as Wigan earned a shock win at Leeds last weekend. That was the first Championship match that Robinson has not started all year, so there’s little doubt that he will be back at left back for Wigan this weekend. For the first time all year, the Latics have built some confidence, having won three of five after having not won a league match since October 20, a run of 13 straight draws or defeats. Another win could take them out of the relegation zone.
Duane Holmes: Derby County at Swansea City, Saturday, 7:00 AM
After his last two performances, it’s hard to think Holmes would be rotated out of the lineup, even on short rest. Last Friday against Stoke, Holmes provided a beautiful assist, and he then scored in the midweek against Northampton Town to help propel the Rams into the FA Cup Fifth Round. The central midfielder now has two goals and two assists in his last five games for Derby, who are heating up with Wayne Rooney now in the fold and playing a starring role. Holmes should be a lock in Phillip Cocu’s outfit Saturday in Wales.
Matt Miazga: Reading vs. Hull, Saturday, 7:00 AM
After injuring his ankle on January 25, Miazga won’t be available for 4-6 weeks. Reading haven’t won in five straight league matches but are still perched safely, sitting nine points clear of the relegation zone.
Tim Ream: Fulham at Blackburn, Saturday, 7:00 AM
Ream sat last week due to a red card suspension, but he should be back in the heart of the defense for the third-place side, which has closed the gap on West Brom and Leeds lately in its push for an automatic promotion spot, this weekend at Blackburn. Ream has started 28 of the 30 games this year for Fulham and is often the side’s captain, so it’s almost impossible to think he misses a second straight game. Fulham’s defense has allowed 32 goals so far, fourth best in the league.