DAVID SMITH - Sunday, September 30, 2012
Matt Taylor and Preußen Münster moved atop the 3. Liga standings with a win over Dortmund II while Steve Cherundolo and Hannover came away from their trip to Hamburg empty-handed.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 2 - 2 FC Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones was back in Schalke's midfield on Friday, playing 73 minutes and picking up a yellow card in the process as the Königsblauen failed to hold onto their halftime advantage in a draw with local rivals Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Düsseldorf striker Dani Schahin was the danger man for the hosts, nearly heading them into the lead after four minutes, but Schalke was the first to strike with a pair of early scores to finally end Düsseldorf's perfect defensive record.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar controlled a throw-in from the right side and slapped a low 18-yard shot just inside the near post for the 13th-minute lead, then Joel Matip doubled it seven minutes later when he headed in a long cross from Christian Fuchs.
After the break, the game turned on the talents of Schahin, who stylishly brought the hosts to within one goal when he used his shin to flick in a corner from Andrey Voronin in the 47th minute.
Then the Ukrainian-born German youth international earned Düsseldorf the point with 13 minutes on the clock, lunging forward to head in a perfectly placed cross by Tobias Levels from the center of the area.
Schalke remain in fourth place, hot on the tail of bitter rivals Dortmund, and trailed by the trio of Hannover, Düsseldorf and Leverkusen. They return to the field on Wednesday when they host French team Montpellier in Champions League action, and then will host Wolfsburg three days later.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 0 - 0 FC Augsburg
Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams both played the full 90 minutes for Hoffenheim on Saturday afternoon in the team's drab scoreless draw against visiting FC Augsburg.
Johnson went the distance at left back, while Williams manned the back of the midfield, while also picking up a late yellow card.
Having just shown signs of overcoming their difficult start to the season, Hoffenheim were not helped in their task of beating the winless bottom team by the midweek car crash that left teammate Boris Vukcevic in the hospital in a coma.
They dictated a quick tempo to the game, however with little substance backing up their style, and both teams cruised through nearly the full 90 minutes with little in the way of chances or incidents.
This all changed with two minutes on the clock when Sejad Salihovic went recklessly into a tackle on Tobias Werner, catching the midfielder's ankle in what could have easily been a severe injury, and receiving a straight red card for his efforts.
The remonstrations of Hoffe coach Markus Babbel were too much for the referee, who sent the former German international to the stands for the final two minutes.
With little time to utilize their sudden advantage, Augsburg couldn't break through for a late goal, with both teams settling for the point.
Hoffenheim do climb to ninth place on the strength of the win, but will be hard-pressed to take anything from their trip to Bayern's Allianz Arena on Saturday, a true house of horrors for the team after their 7-0 loss to the Bavarians on their previous journey to Munich.
Hamburg SV 1 - 0 Hannover 96
Hannover captain Steve Cherundolo played the full game at his usual right back position, but the team was unable to overcome an early goal from their hosts Hamburg in a narrow loss.
The game came down to the simple matter of efficiency, with Hamburg converting one of their two chances over 90 minutes for the winning goal, and Hannover wasting numerous opportunities from start to finish.
A poor clearance from Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler ended up in the control of Rafael van der Vaart in the 20th minute, and the Dutchman sent Latvian international Artjoms Rudnevs through on goal with a fine pass.
Rudnevs made the most of the chance, placing his shot from 16 yards between Zieler's legs for the early lead.
Mohammed Abdellaoue and Didier Ya Konan both had multiple opportunities late in the game to salvage at least a point for the visitors, but were off-target on each occasion.
Hannover fall to fifth place with the loss, and will hope that their Thursday-night home game in the Europa League against Levante won't tire them out too much ahead of next weekend's huge clash with reigning champions Dortmund.
SV Darmstadt 98 1 - 3 Arminia Bielefeld
Preston Zimmerman played the full 90 minutes for Darmstadt, as a loss at home to Bielefeld continued their march into the 3. Liga's drop zone.
Darmstadt can take solace that they looked the better of the two teams, but it will nevertheless be a bitter pill to swallow as a second straight loss dropped them into the bottom three.
Bielefeld defender Felix Burmeister put his team ahead from the spot in the 35th minute, then Pascal Testroet doubled the lead with a blast from the edge of the area eight minutes past the break.
Caster Tatara did briefly give Darmstadt some hope as he pounced on a poor clearance from Stephan Salger and put the ball away into an open net, but Sebastian Hille iced the game with 12 minutes remaining with 22-yard looping shot.
Darmstadt drop to 18th place with the loss, although even a draw on next weekend's visit to 14th place Aachen could pull them free of the relegation places.
Preußen Münster 1 - 0 Borussia Dortmund II
Matt Taylor put in an 87-minute shift on Saturday, as Münster's win over David Wagner's Dortmund II propelled them into top spot in the 3. Liga.
Taylor and Münster have been on a tear for much of the season, with the striker's seven league goals and four assists bearing much of the responsibility for their blazing start.
The American was stopped on several occasions by Dortmund keeper Zlatan Alomerovic, and it was second-half substitute Marco Königs who would play the hero, as the towering striker reacted quickly to a headed pass from Simon Scherder, putting his shot on frame to grab the 84th-minute winner.
David Yelldell was not in uniform for Leverkusen on Saturday as they fought past just-promoted Fürth in a 2-0 victory.
Joe Gyau was on St. Pauli's bench for their trip to Regensburg on Friday, but was not called into action by new head coach Thomas Meggle in their 3-0 loss.
Andrew Wooten was an unused substitute on Saturday in SV Sandhausen's 4-0 blowout loss to 1860 Munich.
Alfredo Morales is still on second-team duty and will not be called into Hertha's roster for their Monday-night trip to Duisburg.
Jerome Kiesewetter did not suit up on Saturday for Stuttgart II's scoreless draw at Wiesbaden.