CLINT WADDELL - Sunday, March 21, 2010
Michael Bradley spearheaded the defensive work for Gladbach as they took a point away from their game against local rivals FC Cologne while Steve Cherundolo and Hannover lost to Stuttgart.
FC Cologne 1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley played the full 90 minutes and did everything in his power to stifle the Cologne attack as Borussia Mönchengladbach played to a 1-1 draw on Friday.
After a string of poor performances, Borussia Mönchengladbach was finally able to get things back on track after turning in a solid effort against the hosts.
The hype and the build-up for this game between two bitter rivals didn't translate to excitement on the field as both teams weren't able to create any offensive opportunities for long stretches during the game.
Cologne's only real chance in the first half came in the 11th minute when a low cross from Maniche came to Milivoje Novakovic's feet, who was left alone in front of the Gladbach goal. But the forward couldn't handle the pass and it would eventually be cleared by the defense.
The best scoring chance for Gladbach was set up by Cologne's Lukas Podolski just a few minutes later, as his back pass fell to Juan Arango.
But his shot from outside the box went straight to Cologne goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. Both teams played pretty conservatively for the next 30 minutes and the half would end quietly at 0-0.
Gladbach was the more aggressive team to start the second half with a shot from Arango, a good cross from Tobias Levels and a header by defender Dante.
The guests would finally get on the board in the 56th minute when Marco Reus took the ball at midfield and dribbled through the Cologne defense before putting a well-placed shot in the lower corner.
For the next 20 minutes, Cologne didn't seem to have an answer or the needed creativity as they desperately tried to find an answer.
It would finally come in the 79th minute. A corner from Zoran Tosic would initially be cleared by the defense, but the ball would find its way back to Tosic who laid it off for Maniche at the top of the box.
The Portuguese international took one step to the right and sent a screamer in to the top right corner as Bradley and the Gladbach defense were all pinned inside the penalty area and came too late to challenge.
Just two minutes later it looked as if the home team would be able to turn the game around as a long ball once again fell to Novakovic's feet but the forward was once again unable to put his shot in the back of the net.
With just a minute left to play, Reus had an opportunity to get an away win, but his long-distance shot was stopped by Mondragon and would end up being the last real action of the game as it ended 1-1.
Gladbach remains in 12th place in the standings, three points ahead of Cologne and eight points ahead of the relegation play-off spot.
Bradley picked up a yellow card - his fifth of the season - and thereby a week off as he serves a one-game suspension. The Foals will take on Hamburg next Sunday.
VfB Stuttgart 2-0 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo would come on as a second-half substitute but Hannover wasn't able to get anything going offensively and a goal in each half from Ciprian Marica would be enough for Stuttgart to win 2-0.
Hannover looked overwhelmed for most of the game as the team had to fend off shot after shot from Stuttgart. The first chance came in the 4th minute as Alexander Hleb played a great through ball to Sami Khedira who dribbled through the defense to the end line and sent a ball to Marica whose header was off target.
Stuttgart didn't let up as a set piece from just outside the area would find Georg Niedermeier who headed the ball over the crossbar.
Niedermeier would once again have a great opportunity from a corner in the 26th minute, but his powerful - albeit poorly placed - header would be deflected over the bar by goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz.
Stuttgart would finally get on the scoreboard in the 36th minute as Hleb beat two defenders and crossed the ball into the middle to Marica who put the ball into the back of the net.
Marica would have another great chance six minutes later, but his header from just a few feet out hit the crossbar and was cleared by the defense.
The second half brought more of the same as the Hannover offense couldn't create any real scoring chances.
The defense would also be punished once again as a horrible pass from Christian Schulz was picked up by Marica just outside of the penalty area and he would put his shot past Fromlowitz to double the lead in the 54th minute. It would be the last real action of the game.
Hannover remains in 16th place - in the relegation play-off spot - and play next Saturday against FC Cologne at home in a game that could be important for the Bundesliga survival of both clubs.
TuS Koblenz 2-0 Fürth
David Yeldell secured another shutout as Koblenz continues its march out of the relegation zone by beating Fürth at home on Friday.
Koblenz was the more active of the two teams and had great scoring opportunities to start the game with Emmanuel Krontiris putting the first shot on goal in the 12th minute. He would be successful just a few minutes later as a long cross found its way into the Fürth goal to put them up 1-0.
Koblenz kept the pressure on as Daniel Gunkel would hit the post with his free kick in the 22nd minute and Everson put a shot side in the 28th minute.
In the second half, the team from Fürth would make it even more difficult for themselves as a cross from Andreas Glockner was sent into the middle only to go off the side of the Stephan Fürstner's foot and into his own goal putting Koblenz up 2-0.
Although hardly tested throughout the game, Yeldell would keep his clean sheet safe as he deflected a shot from Leonhard Haas in the 72nd minute.
The game would end 2-0 as Koblenz look forward to the game next week against MSV Duisburg on Friday. The team could potentially move out of the cellar into the play-off relegation spot.
After a week of speculation, Ricardo Clark remained on the bench on Saturday as Eintracht Frankfurt beat first-placed Bayern Munich at home. His team scored two goals in the final three minutes for a 2-1 win.
Jared Jeffrey and Daniel Williams remained on the bench for Mainz and Freiburg respectively as the two teams met up on Saturday. It was Jeffrey's first inclusion in the first-team squad. A goal from Johannes Flum in the 10th minute was all Freiburg would need to record its first win at home since September.
Jermaine Jones watched again from the stands as Schalke played to a 2-2 draw in Hamburg on Sunday.
Matt Taylor wasn't included in the FSV Frankfurt squad as the team lost away to 1860 Munich 2-1 on Sunday.
Luis Robles will watch from the bench on Monday evening as Kaiserslautern travel to Fortuna Düsseldorf.