Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig)
Once again, Adams did not suit up for Leipzig this weekend in a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim despite reports that he’s back in full team training for the club. The center midfielder could return to the pitch this week as Leipzig end their Champions League group stage campaign at Lyon and visit Fortuna Dusseldorf in the Bundesliga, but it’s impossible to make that prediction before he does actually make his return, given how many false dawns there have been in his long recovery from an adductor issue.
John Brooks (Wolfsburg)
Brooks had a decent, but relatively quiet, 90 minutes as Wolfsburg lost 1-0 to Freiburg on Saturday. The center back wasn’t involved in the only goal of the game, which came from an unstoppable free kick, while he recorded four clearances and four aerial wins. His passing wasn’t quite as sharp as usual, finishing at 78 percent. Wolfsburg have now lost four of five Bundesliga games and have slumped down to ninth in the table.
Weston McKennie (Schalke)
Playing out of position as a center back this weekend, McKennie had a trying afternoon as Schalke lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen. There were some good things in the 21-year-old’s performance: five aerial wins, two clearances, and the most touches of any Schalke player. However, he was also exposed multiple times throughout the contest — most notably on Lucas Alario’s 81st-minute goal, which made it 2-0 after the Argentine evaded McKennie’s watch on a run to the near post — and repeatedly had to thank his
Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Morales was far from his best this weekend, going 90 minutes in the Fortuna midfield but failing to stem the tide of a free-flowing Borussia Dortmund that put Dusseldorf to the sword in a 5-0 win. Playing in the center of the park, Morales really struggled to impose himself on the fixture, finishing with two clearances and little else in the way of notable statistics. It’s hard to blame him for any of the goals, but a critic could argue that he could have prevented the pass before the opening goal if he was marking tighter, and it was hard not to notice Morales jogging back multiple times as Dortmund broke forward, scoring on at least one of those situations. The 29-year-old also picked up a yellow card in the contest, his fifth of the season, meaning he’ll miss next weekend’s game, another daunting test at home against Leipzig.
Zack Steffen (Fortuna Dusseldorf, on loan from Manchester City)
Despite conceding five times, Steffen was actually pretty good against Dortmund. He made five saves in the match, a few of which were particularly impressive ones. The keeper perhaps could have done better on Dortmund’s fourth, which squeezed through his legs, but the shot was an unchallenged one from just a few feet away, so it would have been a terrific stop if he had made it. The loss drops Dusseldorf into the relegation playoff place with three games left in the first half.
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
Sargent got some bad news this week as the striker was ruled out through the end of the year with a slight muscle injury. The 19-year-old has actually been playing through the injury for about a month, as it was reportedly hampering him during the USMNT’s last international break. Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt said that putting Sargent on the shelf for a few weeks should have him back in training at the start of January, with an eye towards making the squad for Werder’s first game after the winter break, which is at Dusseldorf on January 18. This weekend, Bremen lost 1-0 at home to Paderborn.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
Pulisic’s is one of the first names on Frank Lampard’s team sheet at the moment, and more evidence of that came this week as the winger started both of Chelsea’s Premier League matches. In the midweek, the winger played 86 minutes and was a menace to the Aston Villa defense in a 2-1 Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge. Pulisic was credited with five shots and six successful dribbles (in nine attempts), and it was his intelligent off-the-ball run that freed Tammy Abraham in the box to nod home an easy headed goal for the Blues’ opener. Excellent as he was, Pulisic faded a bit late, and his tired legs were certainly a talking point Saturday when the 21-year-old was mostly ineffective in a 3-1 loss at Everton. He did cause some concern in the Everton ranks a few times with his trademark direct runs, finishing with four successful dribbles, but he wasn’t really able to threaten the Toffees’ goal, mostly being kept to the periphery by virtue of a very strong Everton defensive showing. He was guilty of losing possession a game-high nine times. The forward seems to be in need of a breather, but with a critical home Champions League Group Stage finale against Lille coming on Tuesday, Pulisic will certainly hope that rest comes after that matchup.
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)
The hip injury that kept Yedlin out of last weekend’s draw with Manchester City also sidelined the right back for both of Newcastle’s games this week as the Magpies earned two wins, 2-0 over Sheffield United and 2-1 over Southampton. Newcastle manager Steve Bruce had said in the midweek that Yedlin was a question mark ahead of the Sheffield United match, so the injury doesn’t seem to be a long-term one.
Timothy Weah (Lille)
Weah is training, but it looks unlikely that he’ll make his return to the pitch in 2019. He could be back in action in January following the Ligue 1 winter break. Lille sit third in Ligue 1 currently.
Turkish Super Lig
Tyler Boyd (Besiktas)
Boyd unsurprisingly did not feature in Besiktas’ 3-2 Super Lig win over Kasimpasa, but he did start and score earlier in the week in Turkish Cup action. The winger played 82 minutes against fourth-tier 24 Erzincanspor, scoring his side’s opening tally with a back post header in a 3-0 first-leg win that put Besiktas on the cusp of a spot in the last 16. Boyd remains a fringe player for the time being and seems to be stuck in his role as a cup player, which isn’t great given Besiktas’ impending elimination from the Europa League.
Sergino Dest (Ajax)
Dest did not have a great week against Willem II, and despite total domination from his side, Ajax fell 2-0. Dest was responsible for the first goal when he conceded a 40th-minute penalty, and his giveaway on a poor cross deep into the second half lead to a counter attack that provided the knockout blow. It’s hard to blame the goals entirely on Dest, as on the former, on which he did pick up a yellow card, he was one of just a few defenders back with Ajax pushed high up the pitch. On the second goal, Dest’s cross was cut out, but the slow-developing counter caught Ajax with too many tired bodies up the pitch. Ajax remain in first place and may have been caught looking ahead to a massive Champions League clash with Valencia which will determine whether they advance to the knockout stages or drop down to the Europa League.
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
It’s grim for Horvath at the moment as Simon Mignolet played in front of him twice again this week, including one match in Belgian Cup action. If Horvath isn’t even making it in the starting XI for that match –– a 1-1 draw and subsequent PK shootout win over Oostende in the Round of 16 –– it’s clear that the club is all in on Mignolet and has little intention to play Horvath. It appears only an injury to the No. 1 at this point could unseat the Belgian starter.
Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Wood was relegated back to the bench this week, watching on as Hamburg lost 1-0 to Heidenheim.
Duane Holmes (Derby County)
Holmes went the distance for Derby in a 1-0 loss to Blackburn. The central midfielder won four tackles on the day and passed at an 85 percent clip, but his side as a whole couldn’t move the needle in the midtable battle. Holmes has been a stalwart in the lineup recently for Derby, so plenty of minutes should be ahead for the 25-year-old as the Championship enters its notoriously busy stretch.
Miazga was interestingly removed at halftime by Mark Bowen, who replaced the center back with an attacker in a move that backfired as Reading would lose 3-2 to Birmingham. Miazga’s three-man backline only allowed three shots in the first half and conceded from a wild own goal that was no fault of Miazga but rather of his defensive partner Michael Morrison. Still, it was Miazga who made way, and he watched his side give up two more goals in the second period and lose.
Tim Ream (Fulham)
Ream logged a full shift for Fulham this weekend in a 2-1 loss to Bristol City. His side was on the forefront for most of the match, but two lapses lost them the points. Ream wasn’t responsible for the first, as he was marking tightly on a cross that flew over his head and caught the left back napping. On the second, however, Ream drifted out of position following a not-very-dangerous run from inside the box to the sideline, and Bristol slipped in behind the defender, then squared for the dagger. It wasn’t fully Ream’s fault, but he was badly caught out of position. The center back also won two aerials on the day.
Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic)
Robinson and Wigan will feel gutted this week, having taken a 1-0 lead into the final five minutes before falling 2-1 to Luton Town. Robinson wasn’t responsible for either goal, but that being said, he wasn’t in great defensive position on either; with a one-goal lead for a struggling side late, it has to be all hands on deck at the back. The left back did little else of note during the contest as Wigan slipped into the relegation zone.
Chandler was an unused substitute for Eintracht, who drew 2-2 with Hertha Berlin on Friday.
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach, Bundesliga)
Johnson did not make the Gladbach 18-man squad this week. Borussia earned their biggest win of the season, scoring twice in the second half — once via a stoppage-time penalty — to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich. Gladbach currently lead the league by a point over second-place Leipzig.
Khiry Shelton (Paderborn, Bundesliga -> Signed with Sporting Kansas City, MLS)
After playing sparingly following his move to Germany last winter, Shetlon has rejoined MLS club Sporting Kansas City, it was announced on Monday. The 26-year-old forward made two Bundesliga substitute appearances for Paderborn, and the move back to the states should give him the chance to have a more significant impact for his club when the 2020 MLS season kicks off at the end of February. As a result of the move, Shelton will leave this list.
Geoff Cameron (QPR, Championship)
Cameron played 90 active minutes in the heart of QPR’s midfield as Rangers snapped a skid by beating Preston 2-0.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Stoke City, Championship, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
There was some surprise Saturday when Carter-Vickers wasn’t included in the Stoke squad that lost 2-1 to Hull, but manager Michael O’Neill revealed on Monday that it was an illness that had kept the center back sidelined. His status for this week is unclear. Stoke have lost three in a row and sit in 23rd place in the Championship.
Luca de la Torre (Fulham, Championship)
De la Torre was an unused substitute for the second straight week for Fulham in their loss to Bristol City. He hasn’t made a league appearance for the Cottagers since making five during the 2017-18 campaign.
Eric Lichaj (Hull City, Championship)
In Hull’s aforementioned win over Stoke City, Lichaj captained the Tigers and shined in his usual right back role, getting involved at both ends of the pitch and helping set up the game-winning goal. The 31-year-old is playing well this season, starting 17 of 12th-place Hull’s 20 games thus far and wearing the captain’s armband throughout.
Jann-Christopher George (Jahn Regensburg, 2. Bundesliga)
George made his first start since October and went the distance for Regensburg in a 1-0 home victory over St. Pauli.
Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth, 2. Bundesliga)
Green is sidelined with a knee ligament injury and is expected to be out through the winter break.
Kevin Lankford (St. Pauli, 2. Bundesliga)
Lankford was an unused substitute in St. Pauli’s loss to Regensburg.
Sebastian Soto (Hannover, 2. Bundesliga)
As usual, Soto sat on the bench for Hannover’s 3-2 win over Erzgebirge Aue. He has still played a grand total of four minutes this season, picked up in August.
Andrija Novakovich (Frosinone, Serie B)
Novakovich was an unused substitute as Frosinone bowed out of the Coppa Italia with a loss to Parma before getting a start and playing the full 90 minutes as the sixth-place side beat Juve Stabia 2-0.
Niko Gioacchini (Caen, Ligue 2)
A week after picking up an injury, Gioacchini was not in the Caen 18-man squad that defeated fourth-tier C’Chartres 1-0. It’s unclear if the knock is responsible for his exclusion from the squad, but we’ll monitor the situation.
Stephen Payne (Portimonense, Primeira Liga)
S. Payne remains outside of the Portimonense 18-man roster.
Desevio Payne (FC Emmen, Eredivisie)
D. Payne also missed the FC Emmen 18-man squad this week.
Haji Wright (VVV-Venlo, Eredivisie)
In a 2-0 win over Payne’s Emmen, Wright played 90 minutes, again at left winger, for Venlo, who moved out of the relegation zone with three important points. Wright has yet to score or assist for the club, but his side has won two of its past three with the forward in the XI.
Brendan Hines-Ike (Kortrijk, Jupiler League)
Hines-Ike returned to the squad this week for Kortrijk, going as an unused substitute in a 1-1 draw with Mechelen. He’ll hope to be fully recovered from injury and back in the 18 next week.
Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Jupiler League)
Saief was not in the Anderlecht matchday roster this week.
Phillipe Sandler (Anderlecht, Jupiler League, on loan from Manchester City)
Sandler remains sidelined, and it’s getting complicated as his knee injury looks to require surgery. It is unclear whether the recovery will come under Anderlecht’s or City’s watch. It would be the latter if he is ruled out for the season. Either way, don’t expect to see Sandler on the pitch anytime soon.
Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien, Austrian Bundesliga, on loan from Manchester City)
Palmer-Brown started and played 90 minutes at center back for Wien this week. His side played to a 2-2 draw in the Vienna Derby against Rapid Wien.
Shaq Moore (Tenerife, Segunda Division)
Moore sat this week as Tenerife lost 2-0 to Malaga.
Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland, Danish Super League)
Amon was again absent from the Nordsjaelland squad.
Christian Cappis (Hobro, Danish Super League)
Cappis went a full 90 for Hobro in a goalless draw with Horsens. The central midfielder in a 4-4-2 also picked up a yellow card on the day.
Emmanuel Sabbi (Hobro, Danish Super League)
Sabbi was an unused sub in the aforementioned draw.
Yosef Samuel (Hobro, Danish Super League)
Samuel was not in the 18-man roster.
Niko Hamalainen (Kilmarnock, Scottish Premiership, on loan from QPR)
Hamalainen and Kilmarnock started the week well on defense, pitching a shutout in a goalless draw with St. Johnstone. However, they were smacked 3-0 on the weekend by Linvingston and now sit in fifth, six points off fourth place. Hamalainen played a full 180 minutes across the two contests.
Matt Polster (Rangers, Scottish Premiership)
Polster missed both Rangers squads in a down week for the Glasgow club, which drew Aberdeen in the midweek before losing to bitter rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.
Gboly Ariyibi (Panetolikos, Greek Super League)
Ariyibi did not play in a Greek Cup blowout win on Tuesday but did start and go a full 90 in a 3-0 loss against leaders Olympicos on the weekend.
Romain Gall (Malmo, Allsvenskan)
With the Allsvenskan season over, Malmo’s only competitive matches are in the Europa League and Swedish Cup for the time being. They were inactive this week but did play to a 5-0 win in a friendly over Lincoln Red Imps.
Aron Johannsson (Hammarby, Allsvenskan)
Hammarby’s season is over. The side finished in third and qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round next year.
Jonathan Klinsmann (St. Gallen, Swiss Super League)
Klinsmann did not make the 18-man roster for St. Gallen’s 4-1 win over Thun.
Lynden Gooch (Sunderland, League 1)
Gooch is close to a return but is still sidelined with an ankle injury. He did not feature in Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Gillingham this week.
Charlie Kelman (Southend United, League 1)
Kelman did not make either Southend matchday roster this week as he remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
Matthew Olosunde (Rotherham United, League 1)
Olosunde started and was removed with 20 minutes to play and his side down a goal in an eventual 1-0 loss to Rochdale. The substitution was tactical as the defender made way for an attacker.
Giles Phillips (Wycombe Wanderers, League 1, on loan from QPR)
Due to some funky scheduling, Wycombe were inexplicably inactive this week. Their next match will be on 12/14 against Burton meaning they will have spent over two weeks out of action.
Ian Harkes (Dundee United, Scottish Championship)
Harkes went the distance for Dundee this week, playing and producing from the all-important number 10 role in a 2-1 win over Alloa Athletic. Early in the second half, Harkes provided the assist on Dundee’s winner –– at 2:42 in this video –– helping flip the script from a 1-0 deficit into three points. Dundee sit comfortably first in the Scottish Championship with a seven-point gap and a game in hand.