Germany: Bundesliga
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B. Gimber (39), M. Pieringer (59)
N. Nkounkou (49)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Schmidt confirms Maloney's absence against Frankfurt, provides updates on others

FC Heidenheim will have to do without midfield linchpin Lennard Maloney against Frankfurt this weekend. The status of several other regular starters, including the squad's leading goal-scorer Jan-Niklas Beste, may also be in doubt ahead of the coming league encounter. 
Speaking at his Friday presser, FC Heidenheim trainer Frank Schmidt confirmed that he will have to do without midfield talisman Lennard Maloney in the forthcoming home fixture against Frankfurt. The now twice capped USMNT international has started all 23 league fixtures this season and only been subbed off nine times, mostly at the very end of matches. He's logged a total of 1,936 league minutes.

The 24-year-old has been competing with Leverkusen midfield rover Granit Xhaka for the total league lead in distance covered this season. At present Maloney is back ahead of Xhaka with a total of 275.58 kms covered to Xhaka's 273.09. The duel-heritage German-American is averaging a total of 12.81 kms per game. Schmidt noted that Maloney's injury isn't terribly serious, but emphasized that he would not be rushed back.

"He's already doing much better," Schmidt said of his cornerstone player, "It's impossible for him to play tomorrow. Medical ligament injuries are very painful. I'm not ruling out next week, but he'll ultimately decide when he's available again."

Schmidt actually has several important players battling injury heading into the Frankfurt clash. Buccaneering fullback Omar Haktab Traoré had to cut back on training earlier in the week. Attackers Tim Kleindienst and Eren Dinkçi have seen their workloads reduced as well. Bremen loanee Dinkçi leads the league in sprints recorded. Dinkçi has, according to Germany's Kicker Magazine, racked up a total of 642 sprints in his 22 league appearances this year.

The BaWü borderers are also sweating over the fitness of star player Jan-Niklas Beste. Schmidt confirmed that the team's leading scorer maintained "questionable" status for tomorrow's fixture. The 25-year-old set-piece wizard has netted seven league goals and registered 10 assists in 21 league appearances in the current campaign.

"We'll definitely prepare something and have a look at it in the final team training session," Schmidt said on Friday morning, "but it very well be the case that we have to change something on short notice."

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