RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Michael Bradley wound up on the scoreboard for the Foals in an error-filled win over Hannover while David Yelldell had a rough afternoon in Kaiserslautern.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 5 - 3 Hannover 96
Michael Bradley and Mönchengladbach took advantage of Hannover's early Christmas present in the form of three own goals en route to a home win over Steve Cherundolo's slumping Reds.
The game was decided by a comedy of errors by the Hannover defense, lowlighted by two own goals by Karim Haggui. The first came in the 15th minute as Hannover keeper Florian Fromlowitz tried to clear a ball in the penalty area but instead played it off Haggui and into his own goal.
Seven minutes later Tobias Levels crossed the ball from the right side and Rob Friend headed it into the net to double the lead.
In the 35th minute Bradley had a chance to extend the lead, but after chasing down an errant cross from Karim Matmour, his shot from the edge of the penalty box along the baseline hit the crossbar.
One minute later, Didier Ya Konan pulled one back for the visitors from three yards out after a rebound on a long shot. While Bradley had another close shot just miss in the 38th minute, there were no more goals in the first half.
Unfortunately for Hannover, coach Andreas Bergmann's halftime speech failed to mention that the team should avoid more own goals, particularly when not pressure from their opponents. In the 58th minute Hannover defender Christian Djakpa did just this as he apparently tried to play a ball back to Fromlowitz but instead sent it around him and into the net for another own goal.
In the 68th minute, Michael Bradley extended the lead on a set piece from 20 yards out, as he drilled a shot into the lower right corner through a hole in the wall.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Sergio Pinto took the ball down the right side and crossed it to Didier Ya Konan, who played it off his hand in Henry-esque fashion and through two Mönchengladbach defenders before burying the shot from ten yards. As none of the officials saw the handball nor the ensuing shove to get to the ball, the goal stood cutting the Foals' advantage to only 4-2.
In the 84th minute Ya Konan would receive his comeuppance as he was sent off for a second yellow after bringing down Mönchengladbach keeper Logan Bailly in the penalty box.
The comedy of errors continued in the 87th minute as Mönchengladbach defender Jean-Sebastien Jaures nonchalantly dribbled across his own penalty, only to have the ball slide-tackled from his feet into the goal by Christian Schulz leaving the Reds only one goal down with several minutes to try to rescue a point.
Rather than capitalize on the single-goal deficit, Hannover followed this gift with one of their own. Haggui's nightmare day continued as he had a pass back to Fromlowitz skid past the keeper and into the net in stoppage time, giving Gladbach the final 5-3 win.
Next Saturday Mönchengladbach will finish their 2009 schedule with a road match against nearby league-leader Bayer Leverkusen.
Hannover hosts VfL Bochum, currently in the last relegation spot, four points behind Hannover. Both teams then have four weeks of winter vacation before resuming in mid-January.
FC Kaiserslautern 3 - 0 TuS Koblenz
David Yelldell had an abbreviated game Kaiserslautern, coming out of the game just before the hour mark with a knee injury in Koblenz's 3-0 loss in the Fritz Walter Stadium on Friday.
Koblenz were clearly over matched throughout the duration, failing to get off a single shot in the first half in comparison to Kaiserslautern's eight attempts, and were lucky to enter the break only a single goal down.
The hosts' opener came in the 16th minute, as Sidney Sam fed Adam Nemec into the area with a through-ball on the counter, with the Slovakian striker calmly shooting past Yelldell for the lead.
They netted a second in the 57th minute, as Yelldell and Koblenz central defender Manuel Hartmann collided in their attempts to deal with a long ball towards the area from the foot of Kaiserslautern keeper Tobias Sippel, leaving Erik Jendrisek a free net for his fifth of the season.
The collision spelled the end of the game for Yelldell, who left the field of play immediately afterwards with an apparent knee injury with backup keeper Dieter Paucken taking over the reigns.
With little doubt as to the final result, the hosts scored their third and final of the evening with 11 minutes left in regulation with Srdjan Lakic picking up his first goal of the season from close range after connecting with an Alexander Bugera cross
Kaiserslautern backup keeper Luis Robles watched from the bench for the Red Devils, who also clinched the distinction of "herbstmeister" with the win.
The win extends Kaiserslautern lead atop the 2. Bundesliga to six points, with St. Pauli the closest chasers. They will travel to Augsburg on Monday to close out their 2009 schedule.
Koblenz stay in the 16th-place relegation playoff spot, with a six-point gap to safety. They will hope to end the fall term on a winning note when they host 17th-place Frankfurt on Friday.
Bryan Arguez did not make the substitutes bench as Hertha Berlin held Bayer Leverkusen to a 2-2 tie in Berlin on Friday evening.
Jermaine Jones missed Schalke's 2-0 road win against Werder Bremen on Sunday as he continues his long recovery from injury.
Kenny Cooper continues to recover from a knee injury and did not suit up for 1860's 1-0 win over regional neighbors FC Aubsburg on Saturday.
Matt Taylor did not make it off of FSV Frankfurt's bench as they settled for a point in their scoreless draw with visiting Ahlen on Saturday.
Ian Joy was given one more week to recover from his recent injury, as Ingolstadt's game on Friday against Bayern II was postponed due to a waterlogged field at Munich's Grünwalder Stadion.