SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, May 7, 2012
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 clinched a return to the Europa League, while Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson and Andrew Wooten all saw action as the 2011-2012 German season came to a close.
SV Werder Bremen 2 - 3 FC Schalke 04
There were goals a plenty as Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 traveled to Bremen to take on the SV, where the guests bested their hosts in an entertaining affair.
Jones captained the Königsblauen in their final match as Benedikt Höwedes could not play due to a calf injury.
Schalke got on the board in the 30th minute, when young midfielder Julian Draxler rifled a shot into the upper 90 from the edge of the box, leaving Bremen keeper Tim Wiese no chance.
Bremen got on the board about ten minutes later as Sergio Escudero was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Hunt in the box. Peruvian striker Claudio Pizzaro sent Lars Unnerstall the wrong way and converted easily from the spot.
In the 65th minute, Klaas Jan Huntelaar put Schalke back in front. The Dutchman let a right-footed effort fly from 20 yards out, which thumped off the post before landing back at his feet in the box. Huntelaar had no problem converting the second time around, tapping home off of and past Wiese.
Just nine minutes later Huntelaar put the game away by beating Wiese with a left-footed shot for his 29th goal of the season, which also set a new scoring mark for foreigners in the Bundesliga.
Bremen pulled one back in the 82nd minute, when Pizzaro added a second. This time the Peruvian headed home a cross to round off the day's scoring.
Schalke and Jones ended a successful Bundesliga campaign in third place, qualifying for next year's Champions League.
Hannover 96 2 - 1 FC Kaiserslautern
Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover 96 as the Lower Saxons picked up the victory against Andrew Wooten and Kaiserslautern to clinch a place in next year's Europa League.
Cherundolo went the distance for Mirko Slomka's squad, while Wooten came on for the last 20 minutes of the contest.
Kaiserslautern drew first blood, when Pierre de Wit beat Hannover keeper Ron Robert Zieler with a superb shot from 20 plus yards in the seventh minute.
Hannover got back on level terms in the 37th minute thanks to an own goal by Alexander Bugera, who was unlucky to see Didier Ya Konan's shot carom off of Tobias Sippel and then his chest into the back of the net.
The home team grabbed the winner in the 70th minute, and this time Ya Konan did the damage himself, heading home a Lars Stindl cross past Sippel.
The victory qualifies Hannover for the Europa League as they ended the 2011-2012 season in seventh place. Wooten and Kaiserslautern will be in the 2. Bundesliga next year, where the young American figures to feature regularly.
Hertha Berlin 3 - 1 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson started for Hoffenheim, as they fell to Berlin on Saturday and leapfrogged Cologne to claim the relegation playoff spot.
Johnson went the distance for head coach Markus Babbel, who had the chance to send his old club down to the second division with a victory.
In the 14th minute, Anis Ben Hatira put the home team in front as his free kick from 35 yards sailed past teammate Peter Niemeyer and Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke for the early advantage.
Berlin doubled their lead late in the game, as Rafael picked out Adrion Ramos behind the Hoffenheim defense, and the Colombian striker centered for Ben Hatira, who redirected the ball into an empty net in the 78th minute.
Hoffenheim then made things interesting as they pulled within a goal in the 85th as Marvin Compper knocked in a right-footed shot off of an Edson Braafheid free kick.
On the game's final corner, Hoffenheim lost possession at the top of the box as Rafael stripped Braafheid and was off to the races with only an empty net in front of him. He carried the ball to the box before tucking in Berlin's third and final goal.
Hoffenheim finished the season in 11th place with 41 points. Berlin has 10 fewer and will now take on Düsseldorf in the relegation playoffs.
Timothy Chandler was absent from Nuremberg's 4-1 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen after picking up his fifth yellow a week ago. David Yelldell also failed to make the bench for visitors Leverkusen.
Matthew Taylor was an unused substitute as Paderborn finished an impressive campaign in disappointing fashion, losing to Sankt Pauli 5-0 to end the season in 5th place.
Luis Robles did not suit up for Karlsruhe, who forced their way into the relegation playoff spot with a 3-2 win over already-promoted Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bobby Wood is recovering from knee surgery and did not feature for 1860 in their 2-1 home loss to 17th-place Alemannia Aachen.
Villyan Bijev was not in uniform for Fortuna Düsseldorf on Sunday, as they secured their spot in the promotion playoff with a 2-2 draw at home against 10-man Duisburg.
Preston Zimmerman played the full 90 minutes for Darmstadt on Saturday, as they closed their season with a 2-2 home draw against VfB Stuttgart II. Darmstadt end the season in 14th place, ten points clear of the relegation places.
Amaechi Igwe did not suit up for Babelsberg's season-ending 2-2 draw at Wehen Wiesbaden. Babelsberg survives the season in the 3. Liga, five points ahead of the drop zone.