RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
The weekend's return to league play was a bitter pill for Germany's contingent of yanks, with Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley and Matt Taylor seeing their teams registering painful losses.
Hannover 96 0 - 3 Hertha Berlin
Steve Cherundolo lasted barely more than the first half for Hannover as they suffered an embarrassing blowout loss at home on Saturday to last-place Hertha.
The Reds looked the more in control of the two teams in the early-going, but unexpectedly found themselves down by a pair of goals shortly after the half-hour mark.
A weak clearance by the Hannover defense of a Raffael corner rolled to midfielder Lukasz Piszczek just inside the edge of the penalty area, who blasted his low shot down the middle to leave keeper Florian Fromlowitz helpless.
The Berliners needed only three minutes to strike again with Adrian Ramos sending Raffael through into the right side of the area unabated to beat Fromlowitz with his low shot to the far post.
Cherundolo was pulled after 54 minutes in favor of midfield reinforcement Jan Rosenthal, but the change did little to wake up Hannover's attack, with the guests eventually adding a third with ten minutes remaining in the game.
A shot by Raffael was weakly cleared by defender Mario Eggimann directly into the path of new loanee Theofanis Gekas, who calmly chested it down and slotted it past Fromlowitz to remove any lingering hopes of a Hannover rally.
They nearly added a fourth goal three minutes later when Jan Durica pulled Ramos down in the area, however Cicero's poor attempt from the spot to to the left side of goal was easily saved by Fromlowitz.
The loss drops Hannover into the 16th-place relegation playoff spot one point behind Nürnberg. They will have the chance to snap their seven-game winless streak on Saturday when they visit Mainz.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 2 VfL Bochum
Michael Bradley went the distance for the Foals on Saturday as their late rally fell short against visiting Bochum.
Relegation-threatened Bochum needed only 12 minutes to grab the advantage when Christoph Dabrowski drew the attention of three Foals defenders before sliding the ball over to an entirely free Stanislav Sestak on the right side of the area. The Slovakian international made easy work of his shot, beating Logan Bailly from 12 yards out for the lead.
The guests doubled the lead after 36 minutes, with Marcel Maltriz heading a corner from Milos Maric down to Zlatko Dedic, who nailed his off-balance volley from seven yards.
The Foals showed signs of life throughout the second half, with Bradley coming particularly close with a header in the 73rd minute that needed a fine save from Bochum's Philipp Heerwagen and drew protests from the American as he felt the ball had crossed the line.
The Foals managed to give the home fans some hope ten minutes from full time with a pair of young debutants teaming up to pull within one. Patrick Hermann crossed from the top left corner of the area to Fabian Backer, who one-timed it from short distance to bring them back in striking range of a draw.
Despite providing heavy pressure in the final minutes, the hosts were unable to pull equal with Bochum heading home with all three points.
Gladbach maintain their standing in 11th place, and will hope get their first win of the new year on Saturday when they head to last-place Hertha.
MSV Duisburg 5 - 0 FSV Frankfurt
Matt Taylor saw action as a second-half substitute for FSV Frankfurt on Sunday as they were brutally blown out by promotion-hunting Duisburg.
The hosts netted their first after 13 minutes with Brazilian forward Caiuby setting up Srdjan Baljak's shot to the upper left of goal, then doubled on the stroke of half on the strength of Ivica Grlic's shot from outside the area.
Taylor entered the game in the 56th minute for the injured Sebastian Göbig, but his presence did little to turn the tide as Pekka Lagerblom was given his marching orders one minute later for a rough foul on Srdjan Baljak that left the Serbian striker needing treatment.
Olcay Sahan gave Duisburg their third of the day on the hour mark with a shot from the edge of the six-yard box, then Nicky Adler added yet another five minutes later with Caiuby once again playing provider.
The rout was completed with nine minutes in regulation as Christian Tiffert fired from outside the area to provide the exclamation point on the Zebras' resounding win.
The loss coupled with Koblenz's draw against Munich drops Frankfurt back into one of the two automatic relegation spots at 17th place, with their next game on Friday against visiting Fürth.
Jared Jeffrey was not included in the roster for Mainz's 4-2 dismantling at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones is still rehabbing from a broken leg and did not suit up on Sunday for Schalke's 1-0 win over visiting Nürnberg.
Luis Robles watched from the bench as Kaiserslautern were beaten 3-0 on their trip to Fürth on Saturday.
Koblenz keeper David Yelldell and 1860 Munich forward Kenny Cooper both missed the teams' 2-2 draw in Koblenz on Sunday as they recover from their respective MCL injuries.