In the top flight, most
American eyes will be trained on the fortunes of Hannover 96, 11th in the Bundesliga last season, with two Americans on its roster. U.S. international Steve Cherundolo is a regular on the right side,
having made 149 appearances in eight seasons for the German club. The untested Sal Zizzo, a right-sided midfielder, is unlikely to see much playing time this season. Hannover's coach described the
20-year-old UCLA product, who played for the U.S. at the 2007 U-20 World Cup, as "an uncut diamond."
Heath Pearce is another U.S. international expected to feature prominently this season. Hansa Rostock acquired the 23-year-old left back this summer from FC Nordsjaelland of the Danish first division; USSoccerPlayers says he can expect "a busy season" if he can hold down a starting place. The futures of two other UCLA products -- Kamani Hill (VfL Wolfsburg) and Benny Feilhaber (SV Hamburg) -- are less certain, however. Hill, 21, made nine appearances for Wolfsburg last year, but the team barely escaped relegation, and it remains to be seen if he figures in Coach Felix Magath's plans this season. It looks like the unhappy Feilhaber, 22, does not fit into Hamburg's future. The center midfielder wasn't even in the squad for Hamburg's Intertoto or German Cup games; he was recently linked with a move to Derby County in England.