DAVID SMITH - Sunday, April 26, 2009
Michael Bradley and Borussia Mönchengladbach slipped back into the automatic relegation spots while David Yelldell and Matt Taylor were unable to keep Koblenz's winning streak alive.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Arminia Bielefeld
Knowing that a win would pull them fully out of the drop zone, Michael Bradley and the Foals struck early but couldn't hang onto the lead for long as they were forced to settle for a possibly detrimental tie at home with fellow survival competitors Arminia Bielefeld.
With neither team able to muster any chances through the early-going, the Foals opened the scoring on the first chance of the game when Alexander Baumjohann set up Karim Matmour 18 yards straight out from goal for a rocketing shot to the lower right corner.
The Foals continued to dominate possession after the goal but both teams were relatively lifeless until Bielefeld brought things even two minutes past the half-hour mark on a solo effort by Robert Tesche from the right side of the box.
Both teams saw their few chances in the second half prove to be futile with the game headed for a disappointing deadlocked finale.
Foals' coach Hans Meyer pulled Bradley in favor of veteran striker Oliver Neuville with just over 20 minutes to go, however the World Cup hero was unable to provide any magic as the Foals were forced to accept a 1-1 draw that will feel in reality much more like a loss.
The setback leaves the Foals with little room to wiggle, now firmly entrenched in one of the two automatic relegation spots and two points away from the surface with only five games remaining.
Their quest for survival becomes considerably more difficult on Sunday when they must travel to Bayerns Allianz Arena then host Schalke the following weekend.
TuS Koblenz 0 - 2 Alemannia Aachen
David Yelldell took up his usual starting position between Koblenz's posts and Matt Taylor saw a half of action in an attempt to liven up the attack, however a pair of second-half goals from Aachen was enough to cost Koblenz the points.
Aachen immediately made their intentions of keeping a nose in the promotion race abundantly clear, coming out on the offensive in an attempt to grab the early lead.
The hosts held their ground well, however a general lack of crispness on the attack meant they were unable to take any initiative on their own with the game heading into the half scoreless.
Taylor was brought on after the half as a part of a double-substitution by coach Milan Sasic in an attempt to give a shot of adrenaline to an otherwise lifeless attack, but Aachen remained the dominant team nevertheless.
Their constant pressure finally proved too much for their hosts after 58 minutes with Lewis Holtby setting up Herve Oussale for a close-range shot directly in front of goal for the lead.
Taylor picked up his second yellow card of the season two minutes later, but nearly provided the assist for what would have been the tying goal with a headed pass for Emmanuel Krontiris, however the former Aachen player's 18-yard shot was saved keeping Koblenz one goal down.
Aachen sealed the points with ten minutes remaining then Manuel Hartmann brought down Benjamin Auer in the area, with Yelldell unable to save Matthias Lehmann's shot to his lower left.
Taylor made his best attempt to grab a consolation goal with one minute remaining, latching onto a cross from Du-Ri Cha and directing it towards the target, however his shot was handily saved by Thorsten Stuckmann.
The loss drops Koblenz one spot to 13th place, however they still remain six points and a significantly better goal differential ahead of the drop zone with five games still remaining.
They face a tough stretch ahead, however, as they must visit third-place Mainz on Sunday before returning home to host leaders Freiburg one week later.
Bryan Arguez was nowhere to be seen as Hertha proved that the Hoffe are in desperate need of a lifeguard for their season with a 1-0 victory in the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Friday night.
Steve Cherundolo is recovering from season-ending hip surgery and Sal Zizzo spent his weekend with Hannover's U23 team as the first team picked up an important 2-1 home win over FC Cologine on Saturday.
Grover Gibson was did not dress as Ahlen inched ever-closer to the relegation line with a 2-0 loss at home to MSV Duisburg.
Luis Robles appears nearly recovered from his earlier ankle injury and was on the bench for Kaiserslautern's 1-0 victory over SV Wehen.
Heath Pearce was demoted to Rostock's Regionalliga squad and will be nowhere near Osnabrück on Monday night.[/quote]