RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Jermaine Jones saw competitive action for the first time in over a year as Schalke fended off Aalen while Michael Bradley netted for the Foals as they overcame Erzgebirge Aue in the first round of the German Cup.
VfR Aalen 1 – 2 Schalke
Jermaine Jones and Schalke had to hold off a pesky Aalen squad to ensure their passage to the second round of the German Cup on Monday night at Scholz-Arena in Aalen.
It was the first time Jones had seen the field for the Bundesliga giants since the final day of the 2008-2009 season as the American started in head coach Felix Magath's midfield and would go on to play the full 90 minutes.
The two teams began the match feeling each other out until that all came to an abrupt halt in the 18th minute.
A rough two-footed tackle by Aalen's Andreas Schön on Jones earned Schön a red card and reduced the home team to ten men.
US national team fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when Jones popped right back up after the foul and showed no ill effects from Schön's reckless tackle.
Four minutes shy of halftime, Magath's squad hit pay dirt when Brazilian forward Edu won a 50-50 header that landed to Jefferson Farfan who blasted home from inside the area.
Farfan struck again just one minute into the second half when substitute Lukas Schmitz lofted a perfect cross from the left side that Farfan easily headed home to double the margin.
Jones continued to play well in the Schalke midfield feeding accurate balls into attackers and stripping several Aalen players of possession.
The hosts from the 3. Liga did receive a lifeline from their foes in the 82nd minute when Christoph Metzelder was whistled for a foul in the area on Tim Bauer.
Bauer calmly converted the penalty kick but it would not be enough as Schalke rode home with the victory.
Jones and company return to action this weekend when they kick off their Bundesliga campaign at Hamburg.
Erzgebirge Aue 1 - 3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Michael Bradley scored the opening goal for Borussia Mönchengladbach late in the first half as they eventually were able to overcome Erzgebirge Aue on Saturday to move into the DFB Cup second round.
The recently-promoted 2. Bundesliga team Aue did a fine job in holding off their top-flight guests for much of the first half until a poorly-played pass from Aue midfielder Skerdilaid Curri opened the door for Bradley to put his team on the board.
Marco Reus collected the unnecessary turnover from the Albanian and let Bradley and newly-acquired forward Mohamadou Idrissou have the fun, with the pair combining on a give-and-go to set up the American for a low shot from 10 yards out in the 38th minute.
Curri made up for his mistake two minutes after the break when he was allowed too much space down the right flank, and played a high cross into the area which Jan Hochscheidt rose to head past Gladbach keeper Christofer Heimeroth to even the score.
Idrissou, however, put a damper on any Aue plans for an upset in the 64th minute when a shot was first deflected by defender Adli Lachheb, but fell to Marco Reus, who fed the ball back to Idrissou for his first goal with his new team.
Reus then added an insurance goal with three minutes in regulation, taking a pass from substitute Roman Neustädter before making quick work to evade the defense and put away his 18-yard shot into the left corner for the final 3-1 scoreline.
Bradley and his teammates will now turn their gaze towards their upcoming 1. Bundesliga opener on Saturday when they host FC Nürnberg.
SV Elversberg 0 - 0 Hannover 96 (5-4)
Steve Cherundolo began his permanent captaincy of Hannover on a sour note, keeping the Reds' opponents SV Elversberg off the scoreboard, but without any goals to their own name, ultimately falling in a penalty shootout.
After last year's first-round embarrassment against lower-league Trier which ultimately led to a quick coaching change just before the start of the tough season, the Reds were looking to avoid another such failure to begin the upcoming term.
With neither team showing any bite whatsoever on the attack, a scoreless draw at full time was a fair and not entirely unexpected result.
The teams traded half-chances through the first half, with newly-acquired attacker Carlitos having perhaps the best chance when he sent a free kick just over the bar.
The fourth-division Elversberg looked the better team after the break, regularly troubling the Hannover defense, but failing to put the ball past Florian Fromlowitz, ultimately seeing the game into extra time.
Christian Schulz and Mikael Forssell each looked dangerously close to providing Hannover a dramatic late win in the final five minutes leading up to the shootout, Elversberg held strong, sending the game into a final battle of the keepers.
Neither Fromlowitz nor his counterpart Matthias Kuhn managed to save any of the ten spot kicks taken, with the difference-maker being a high miss by Forssell on Hannover's second of the shootout, sending the jubilant hosts through to the second round.
The team will try to regroup when they next host Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday for their Bundesliga opener.
VfB Lübeck 0 - 2 MSV Duisburg
David Yelldell started off his stay in Duisburg on a strong note, doing his part to keep VfB Lübeck off the scoreboard as they advanced to the second round on a pair of second-half goals on Friday.
An own goal in the 50th minute hampered the hosts' chances of grabbing the lead as center back Moritz Marheineke knocked it into his own net to give Yelldell and company the advantage.
The visitors sealed the match in the waning minutes when former 1860 Munich striker Manuel Schäffler scored sending the 2. Bundesliga club to victory.
Now fully recovered from his previous injury problems, Yelldell should be the starter between the sticks on Sunday when Duisburg head to VfL Osnabrück for their 2. Bundesliga season opener.
Ricardo Clark was an unused substitute for Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday as they clobbered fourth division team SV Wilhelmshaven 4-0 to book their place in the second round.
Luis Robles watched from the bench as Karlsruher SC came away empty-handed from Ingolstadt, losing by a 2-0 margin. Ingolstadt defender Amaechi Igwe is out injured and did not suit up for the Friday night affair.
Injured Kenny Cooper did not take part in 1860 Munich's 2-1 road win over SC Verl on Saturday.
Daniel Williams saw minutes as a second-half substitute as Freiburg began their DFB Cup campaign with a tight 1-0 win over FC Oberneuland on Saturday.