RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover dealt a final blow to Steve McLaren's Wolfsburg tenure while Timothy Chandler continued in his role as Nürnberg's first bench option in their win over Leverkusen.
Hannover 96 1 - 0 VfL Wolfsburg
Steve Cherundolo went the distance for Hannover on Saturday as they pulled back into fourth place with a narrow 1-0 win over Wolfsburg.
American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley was not included on Mirko Slomka's bench for the encounter.
The only goal of the game came with a moment of trickery by the hosts in the fifth minute. Konstantin Rausch lined up for Hannover over the ball 30 yards out on the left for a free kick, however instead of taking a crack at it or trying to cross towards goal, he slid the ball laterally to Sergio Pinto, who drove home his 22-yard blast for the lead.
Wolfsburg was given the golden opportunity to pull even when Emanuel Pogatetz tripped up Diego in the area with 12 minutes left, however the Brazilian's shot bounced off the upright to preserve the win for the much-relieved hosts.
The loss served as the final act for Wolfsburg coach Steve McClaren, as the former England chief was relieved of his duties and sent packing back to the Isles by the team's upper brass after a largely disappointing stay in Germany.
Hannover pulls into fourth place with the three points in the bag, now with a single-point edge over fifth-place FC Bayern. They will visit downtrodden Bremen on Sunday.
FC Nürnberg 1 - 0 Bayer Leverkusen
Timothy Chandler once again saw action as a second half substitute for Nürnberg, playing the last 18 minutes as they were able to hold onto a 1-0 win over second-place Leverkusen.
After a scoreless first half, the hosts began to apply pressure in the early minutes after the break, and nabbed a well-deserved opening goal on the hour mark.
Jens Hegeler popped a headed pass to Christian Eigler just outside the penalty area, and the striker quickly worked into a free position before hitting a looping shot which bounced off the right upright and well out of keeper Rene Adler's reach.
Chandler entered the game in the 72nd minute for attacker Mehmet Ekici as the team sought to protect their lead. They were given a tough task in the final moments when Eigler was sent off for a second yellow leaving them a man down, however they held strong to take all the spoils of the afternoon.
Nürnberg pull into ninth place thanks to the win, and will look to add to their points total on Saturday when they visit relegation-bound Stuttgart.
SC Paderborn 07 3 - 0 Karlsruher SC
Luis Robles had a tough day in the office for Karlsruhe, giving up a trio of goals on the team's trip to Paderborn on Saturday.
Paderborn looked to have the lead when Edmond Kapllani received the ball in the area through the defense and showed a nice bit of skill to pop it over Robles and tap it into the net, however he was whistled for being in an offside position in a questionable decision which drew much ire from his team's bench.
The teams held each other to a scoreless deadlock through the first half, but Paderborn pulled into the lead in the 53rd minute after Michael Mutzel pulled Florian Mohr down in the penalty area on a free kick allowing Markus Krösche to beat Robles from the spot.
They added another with 16 minutes remaining in regulation when Daniel Brückner sprung Sören Brandy into the left of the area for a tight-angled shot which was out of Robles' reach, then Brückner got one of his own with three minutes on the clock with a partially deflected free kick which left the American keeper no chance.
Karlsruhe remain just above the relegation zone with a one-point pad over 16th-place Oberhausen. They next host league leaders Hertha on Sunday.
MSV Duisburg 3 - 1 Erzgebirge Aue
David Yelldell and Duisburg had a strong outing at home on Sunday, putting a trio of goals past Aue to move back up in the standings.
The Zebras needed just a quarter-hour to jump ahead when Goran Sukalo connected on a long free kick from Filip Trojan, sending his powerful header straight into goal.
Defenses dominated the next hour, until Duisburg seemed to have added an insurance goal in the 74th minute when Sukalo was again the happy recipient of a well-placed free kick, this time from Benjamin Kern, leaving the Slovenian international with easy work to send his header to the left of Aue keeper Martin Männel.
The visitors provided a few tense moments in the final minutes after Tobias Kempe scored with a low bouncing shot with three still left in regulation to cut the lead to a single goal, however Manuel Schäffler secured the three points one minute into added time with a 20-yard blast from dead ahead to bring the final score to 3-1 in favor of the Zebras.
The win hops Duisburg past Aue into fourth place in the 2. Liga, now with a mere two points keeping them out of the promotion spots. They face one of their biggest games of the season on Friday when they visit second-place Augsburg, with the possibility to leap two spots with a win.
FC Ingolstadt 04 1 - 0 Arminia Bielefeld
Edson Buddle and Ingolstadt notched up their first win of the new year against visiting cellar team Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday afternoon, with Buddle assisting on the only goal of the game shortly before the halftime break.
Ingolstadt spent much of the first half pressing Bielefeld and looking ready to go ahead on several occasions, and finally took the lead when Buddle picked out Andreas Buchner near the top edge of the penalty area for a 43rd minute strike.
Bielefeld kept it close and had several chances to pull even in the second half, most notably when an apparent equalizing goal on the stroke of full-time was called back for offside. Unlike the previous two weekends which saw Die Schanzer yield leads and forced to settle for a point, the defense held strong for the duration to take all three points, giving the hosts a much-needed boost in their stretch run against relegation.
Details of the game are given in a Yanks Abroad press box report.
SV Babelsberg 03 1 - 0 Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor had a short afternoon for Ahlen, coming out after 39 minutes with a calf problem on Saturday as the team fell thanks to an own goal by Robert Fleßers.
Ahlen looked the the more dangerous of the two teams in the first half-hour, but were the architects of their own demise when Fleßers carelessly knocked the ball into his own net following a Babelsberg free kick.
Taylor was forced out of the game moments later with a persistent calf problem which had been bothering him prior to the game, leaving the Ahlen attack toothless to stage a real comeback.
Any chances for a miracle were further diminished 11 minutes into the second half as David Vrzogic was shown a straight red for a rough foul on Dominik Stroh-Engel, leaving the visitors fighting hard just to prevent their hosts from running up the score.
The game ended on a further sour note for Ahlen, with Marcel Busch getting sent to the locker room moments early for a second bookable offense, meaning that he too will miss the team's next game along with the suspended Vrzogic and injured Taylor.
Ahlen drop to 14th, and have a short turnaround until they host Hansa Rostock on Wednesday evening in 3. Liga weather makeup action.
Both Daniel Williams and Ricardo Clark and out injured and did not suit up for their respective teams in the scoreless draw between SC Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
Alfredo Morales was an unused substitute for Hertha on Saturday for their 2-1 loss at home to city rivals Union Berlin
Bobby Wood saw spot action as an 87th minute substitute in 1860's 1-1 draw on Monday night against visiting Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Fabian Hürzeler is awaiting his first call-up for FC Bayern II and was not in uniform for their 2-0 loss at Braunschweig on Saturday.