RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson were both victorious in matchday 28 action in the Bundesliga, as the former took a step towards Europe, while the latter inched closer to safety.
FC Nürnberg 2 - 1 Mainz 05
Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg knocked off Mainz on Sunday to pull within striking distance of next year's Europa league.
Chandler put in maximum minutes on the right flank for head coach Michael Wiesinger, who opted for a cautious approach.
Nuremberg started the match by keeping ten behind the ball content to let the guests from Mainz carry the bulk of the possession. As a result, Mainz controlled the proceedings early on and created the game's first chance.
In the 29th minute, Nikolai Müller slipped past Nuremberg's Javier Pinola in the box and was driving towards the touchline. Pinola, however, clipped the midfielder's legs to award Mainz a penalty.
Hungarian striker Adam Szalai took the spot kick, but pulled his effort wide left of Rafael Schäffer's goal to keep the contest scoreless in half number one.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute with the hosts going in front. Japanese playmaker Hiroshi Kiyotake picked out Swedish defender Per Nilsson in the box; the Swede made no mistake from close range, heading home past keeper Christian Wetklo.
After displaying a solid defensive effort for the first hour, Nuremberg conceded a mere six minutes after taking the lead.
Oliver Kirchhoff snuck a pass through the Nuremberg defense to Müller, who saw that Schäffer was off his line, before chipping over the netminder from just outside the box to equalize.
The game winner fell in the 69th minute and it was Kiyotake to Nilsson once again connecting on a set piece. The
Japanese's corner was flicked on by German midfielder Hanno Ballitsch to the Swede, who had no trouble pushing the ball over the line from close range.
With the win, Nuremberg is now three points removed from a spot in the Europa League with a total of 38 points on the season. Up next for Chandler and Der Klub is an away date versus newly crowned champions Bayern Munich.
Hoffenheim 3 - 0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Fabian Johnson went the distance for Hoffenheim, who pulled within a point of safety after knocking off Düsseldorf on Friday night.
Johnson manned his accustomed left back spot in new head coach Markus Gisdol's starting 11, while Daniel Williams was not included in the matchday lineup.
Hoffenheim struck after 11 minutes, catching Düsseldorf on the counter attack. Sven Schipplock corralled the ball on the edge of the area and passed to Roberto Firmino, who hammered home past keeper Fabian Giefer.
Hoffenheim had a slew of opportunities to put the game away early, but Kevin Volland, Sehad Salihovic and Schipplock all failed to convert in the 21st, 37th and 45th minutes respectively.
The hosts did double their advantage late on thanks to an own goal by Andreas Lambertz, who redirected a Salihovic corner into his own net in the 75th minute.
In the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time Salihovic threaded a pass through the Düsseldorf defense to Volland.
The young German midfielder then rounded keeper Giefer and tapped home into an empty net.
The victory pulls Hoffenheim to within a single point of Augsburg, who occupies the relegation playoff spot. Hoffenheim take on Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Dynamo Dresden 3 - 2 Sankt Pauli
Joseph Gyau started and went 72 minutes as Sankt Pauli blew a two-goal second-half lead to fall versus Dresden on Saturday.
Gyau, making his fourth start in a row, was unlucky not to have put the guests ahead in the 14th minutes as the woodwork thwarted his effort from ten yards out.
Some six minutes later it was Dresden's turn to strike the post as striker Pavel Fort hammered his header off the bar.
Pauli took the lead in the 50th minute through a Florian Mohr header off of a Fin Bartels' cross from the left.
The guests added a second three minutes later as Gyau plucked the ball from a Dresden defender and was off to the races. At the edge of the box he tucked a pass to Daniel Ginczek, who beat keeper Benjamin Kirsten with a right-footed shot.
After that it was all Dresden.
The hosts pulled one back on a spectacular bicycle kick by Filip Trojan in the 63rd minute and then drew level four minutes later when defender Anthony Losilla stuffed home his own rebound.
Dresden completed the comeback in the 77th minute as Sebastian Schuppan saw his left-footed shot deflected into goal by defender Christopher Avevor.
After the loss, Sankt Pauli has 33 points, seven clear of a relegation spot with six to play. Sankt Pauli and Gyau are back in action on Saturday when they host Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich.
MSV Duisburg 2 - 1 SV Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten logged 90 minutes of action for Sandhausen, who fell to Duisburg and further towards relegation.
Consistency has been a problem for Wooten and Sandhausen all year long and Saturday's affair was no different, with the guests playing well at times and making amateurish blunders at others.
Case in point: no one in the Sandhausen ranks picked up Duisburg defender Timo Perthel, who easily had four yards of space to hit home a low corner unmolested through the legs of keeper Daniel Ischdonat in the 31st minute.
The guests then struck back in the 34th minute as Jan Fießer converted Marcel Kandizora's perfectly weighted cross with a cool-as-you-like header into the Duisburg net.
Wooten then nearly put Sandhausen up a goal, but his powerful right-footed shot crashed against the post and out for a goal kick in the 63rd minute.
Just three minutes later, however, Sandhausen continued their Jekyll and Hyde act as three defenders failed to track striker Ranisav Jovanovic. Alone in front of Ischdonat's goal, the Serbian was brought to ground by the keeper in the box.
The ensuing penalty was coolly converted by Branimir Banjic to give the hosts the game winner.
With the loss, Sandhausen remain in second-to-last place, three points back of a relegation playoff spot. Wooten and Sandhausen host second place Braunschweig next week.
Preußen Münster 3 - 3 FC Saarbrucken
Matt Taylor started and scored in 72 minutes of action, as Munster blew a three-goal lead at home to Saarbrucken.
With his goal in the 60th minute, Taylor snapped an eleven game scoring drought.
Amaury Bischoff opened the scoring for the hosts in the 24th by connecting on a free kick from 18 yards out.
In the 51st minute, Munster notched a second. This time it was Mehmet Kara getting in on the act by burying Jens Trockenbrod's seeing-eye pass.
Taylor was able to celebrate a goal for the first time since November as he latched on to a Dennis Grote cross to redirect the ball across the line in the 60th minute.
Manuel Stiefler got the guests on the board three minutes later, connecting on a volley, before Marcel Ziemer pulled Saarbrucken to within a goal in the 65th minute.
The hosts then completed the comeback in the 90th minute as Stiefler tapped home from close range for his second.
Up next for Taylor and Munster is a road date versus Kickers Offenbach on Saturday.
Darmstadt 0 - 0 Alemania Aachen
Preston Zimmerman went the distance for Darmstadt against Aachen, as Darmstadt continues to flirt with relegation.
Zimmerman started up front for Darmstadt and came close to scoring in the 33rd minute, but was a step too slow to get onto Sebastian Zielinsky's cross.
Darmstadt went up a man in the 81st minute as substitute Dario Schuhmacher was sent off for a bad challenge on Benjamin Baier.
The point keeps Darmstadt two points clear of the drop zone. Darmstadt and Zimmerman take on Borussia Dortmund II on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones missed his second match in a row for Schalke, who beat Bremen 2-0.
Michael Parkhurst failed to make the bench for Augsburg in their 4-2 loss to Dortmund.
Bobby Wood was an unused substitute for 1860 Munich, who tied Cottbus 1-1.
Jerome Kiesewetter came on in the 89th minute for Stuttgart II, as the Swabians fell to Heidenheim 1-0.