RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg got the better of Jermaine Jones and Schalke, while Daniel Williams and Hoffenheim had to settle for a point.
FC Nürnberg 3 - 0 Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones returned to the starting lineup for Schalke 04 against Timothy Chandler and FC Nürnberg, as Chandler and the hosts topped Jones and the guests.
Jones returned to head coach Jens Keller's starting 11 after serving a one-match ban for accumulation of yellow cards, while Chandler got the nod on the right flank; Jones went the distance and Chandler logged 84 minutes of playing time.
The contest took a few minutes to get going, and when it finally did produce attacking soccer it was unsurprisingly the guests taking the initiative.
Jefferson Farfan came tantalizingly close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute just pulling his shot past the post, right before Julian Draxler's goal-bound effort was kept out spectacularly by Nuremberg keeper Rafael Schäfer.
Draxler did beat Schäfer in the 24th minute, only to see the left post keep the guests off the board; it was the 12th time this season that Schalke have hit the woodwork.
Nuremberg's first real foray into the attacking third produced the opener. Tomas Pekhart picked out Markus Feulner with a chipped through ball. Nuremberg's midfielder controlled with his chest, split Schalke's defense and slotted past Timo Hildebrand with his left after 31 minutes had elapsed.
Despite conceding, Schalke remained in control and looked the much more purpose-driven eleven. While Nuremberg, on the other hand, was content to play counter-attacking soccer in front of their own fans.
It was precisely such a situation that set-up Nuremberg's second in the 69th minute.
Schalke had numbers forward when Brazilian midfielder Rafael lost possession in midfield. The ball eventually landed to Nuremberg's Hiroshi Kiyotake, who played it wide to Alexander Esswein. The German striker outran his markers on a run into the box, where he beat Hildebrand to the near post.
Nuremberg finished the match with an exclamation point as Kiyotake threaded a through ball behind the Schalke backline to Mike Frantz, who rounded Hildebrand before slotting home with his left in the 87th minute.
Up next for Chandler and Nuremberg is an away date versus Wolfsburg on March 31st, while Jones and Schalke host Hoffenheim the day before.
1899 Hoffenheim 0 - 0 Mainz 05
Daniel Williams manned the midfield for Hoffenheim, who picked up point but lost ground in the relegation battle.
Hoffenheim boss Marko Kurz picked Williams alongside Tobias Weis in midfield for the third match in a row; Williams lodged the full 90 minutes. Fabian Johnson missed a second consecutive match due to injury.
The match's first, and best chance, fell to the guests and came in the 17th minute. Williams inadvertently flicked on an Andreas Ivanschitz free kick to Nikolce Noveski, but the Mainz captain's headed effort was denied by the post.
Hoffenheim first began looking dangerous in the second half, although the hosts failed to produce and clear cut scoring chances.
The best of Hoffenheim's scant handful of half chances cam in the 58th minute, as Roberto Firmino lofted a cross into the box for Tobais Weis. The German, however, could only manage to blast his volleyed effort over the bar.
The point, coupled with Augsburg's victory over Hamburg, means that Hoffenheim is now four points back of a relegation playoff spot. Up next for Hoffenheim is a Saturday road trip to take on Schalke 04 on March 30th.
VfR Aalen 2 - 2 SV Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten started, went the distance and grabbed an important equalizer as Sandhausen picked up a point versus Aalen.
Wooten notched his ninth consecutive start for Sandhausen and head coach Hans-Jürgen Boysen.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 30th minute through Robert Lechleiter, who was inadvertently played in behind the defense by Sandhausen's central defender Daniel Schulz. Lechleiter didn't waste the gifted chance and drilled his effort through the legs of keeper Michael Langer for the lead.
Sandhausen equalized in the 70th minute as Frank Löning picked out Wooten at the far post from the touchline and the German-American collected and slotted home from a couple of yards out for his fifth goal of the season.
It looked as though Sandhausen would pick up all three points late on as substitute Juho Mäkelä pounced on a loose ball in the box and laced a right-footed shot past Aalen keeper Jasmin Fejzic in the 82nd minute.
The hosts, however, struck back just before time ran out as Aalen's substitute Takume Abe whipped in a long-range shot with his left from 20 plus yards out in the 90th minute that keeper Langer failed to get to.
With the point, remain two points back of Dresden. Sandhausen takes on Kaiserslautern on Sunday March 31st.
Preußen Münster 4 - 1 Alemannia Aachen
Matt Taylor put just over an hour of work as Munster stayed on course for promotion with a victory over Aachen on Saturday.
Head coach Pavel Dotchev paired Taylor in attack with Dennis Grote, where the American logged 68 minutes before giving way for Marco Königs.
Munster opened the scoring in the 42nd minute through Dima Nazarov, who got onto a Jens Truckenbrod cross to put the hosts up with a right-footed shot from eight yards out.
The guests then doubled the hosts' advantage in the 51st minute as Sasa Strujic's attempted saving clearance was hammered into the back of his own net.
Just six minutes later, though, Aachen found the back of the correct net with Timmy Thiele rising up to head home Robert Wilschrey's service.
For some 20 minutes Munster had to fend off the Aachen attack until Mehmet Kara restored the two-goal advantage by slotting home his own rebound in the 78th minute. Patrick Kirsch rounded off the day's scoring in the 81st minute with a thunderous header.
Up next for Taylor and Munster is a Tuesday March 26th date versus Vfb Stuttgart II.
Darmstadt 1 - 0 VfL Osnabrück
Preston Zimmerman started for Darmstadt and scored the game winner versus Osnabrück.
Zimmerman scored for the second time in as many weeks to bring his season total to 11.
The American struck in the 55th minute as right full back Daniel Ratei sent in a cross that the American was able to push across the line for the eventual game winner.
With the victory the Lilies moved out of the drop zone for the first time in a long time. They are now in 17th place with 27 points. Up next is a road date versus Rostock on March 30th.
Michael Parkhurst was not named to Augsburg's bench for their 1-0 victory over Hamburg.
Bobby Wood did not make it off the bench for 1860 Munich 0-0 tie on Sunday versus Hertha Berlin.
Jerome Kiesewetter was an unused substitute for VfB II versus Hansa Rostock in a goalless tie.