RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover pushed back into Champions League contention with a win over Freiburg while Ricardo Clark was in Frankfurt's starting lineup for their draw with Bayern Munich.
SC Freiburg 1 - 3 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover pushed to an important win on the road over Freiburg on Thursday night, a result which saw them end the weekend back in the Bundesliga's top three.
Freiburg's Daniel Williams made his return to the field for Freiburg as a 75th-minute substitute after a nearly six-month struggle with injuries while Hannover's DaMarcus Beasley was not included in his team's roster.
Hannover opened the scoring after 24 minutes when Jan Schlaudraff slipped a pass into the right side of Freiburg's penalty area, which Mohammed Abdellaoue ran onto and side footed under the reach of Freiburg's keeper Oliver Baumann just inside the near post.
They were off and running when they doubled the lead seven minutes later, this time with Schlaudraff the recipient of a fine through ball from Altin Lala, which he took around the out-of-position Freiburg keeper and and kicked into the open net.
They nabbed a third goal two minutes before the hour mark as Manuel Schmiedebach fired a cross from the right side towards the far post, which Konstantin Rausch lunged in low to head home for 3-0.
Freiburg did grab a consolation goal with 11 minutes left as Jan Rosenthal connected with a cross directly to the penalty area from Heiko Butscher which he one-timed past Robert Zieler for the final 3-1 scoreline.
With Bayern only managing a draw at Frankfurt, the result pushes The Reds back into the 1. Bundesliga's third-place spot earmarked for the Champions League with a slim one-point advantage over the Bavarians.
They will try to hold onto this advantage on Saturday when they host relegation-bound Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1 - 1 Bayern Munich
Ricardo Clark slotted back into Eintracht Frankfurt's starting central midfield, but was unable to keep the team from having to settle for a draw thanks to a late penalty conversion by Mario Gomez.
After a scoreless first half which saw Bayern creating the most pressure around goal in the first 20 minutes and Frankfurt gaining some momentum in the final minutes before the intermission, the hosts jumped surprisingly to the lead shortly after the break.
A long free kick from the right side was passed into Bayern's crowded six-yard box, and the team's failure to effectively clear the ball left it at the foot of Sebastian Rode, who struck from several yards for 1-0.
This game would look headed to a huge Frankfurt, however they blew the win in one of the cruelest ways possible, as Martin Fenin brought down Luiz Gustavo inside the box in the 89th minute, leading to a successful conversion of the spot kick buy Gomez to secure the draw.
The result sees Frankfurt's gap ahead of Wolfsburg, who are in the league's relegation playoff spot, shrink to two points with four games remaining on the shedule. The team next heads to local rivals Mainz against whom they will try to play spoiler to their opponents' Europa League hopes.
FC Nürnberg 0 - 0 FSV Mainz 05
Timothy Chandler went the distance in Nürnberg's back four on Sunday afternoon as the team put on a stout defensive performance to hold Mainz to a scoreless draw.
Nürnberg had a good chance to pull ahead in the tenth minute when Mehmet Ekici's free kick just hit the crossbar.
Scoring opportunities were few and far between during both halves, with the biggest moment of excitement coming at the end of regulation when Mainz keeper Christian Wetklo appeared to have handled the ball out of his own area in what should have resulted in a red card.
The linesman apparently didn't see the infraction clearly, as he instead made no call on the play and ended up showing yellow to Nürnberg's Robert Mak for excessive arguing.
Nürnberg remain in sixth place in the final Europa League spot, still two points behind Mainz ahead of next Saturday's tough contest at league leaders Kaiserslautern.
Rot-Weiß Oberhausen 2 - 1 Karlsruher SC
Karlsruhe were unable to hang on to an early lead on Saturday, with Robles once again getting the starting nod in goal in the team's 2-1 loss.
The team jumped out to a quick lead with only six minutes gone by, as Delron Buckley pinpointed a cross from near the endline to the right of the goal, which flew just over the keeper's reach towards MaCauley Chrisantus for a header just inside the near post.
Oberhausen pulled even just before the half-hour mark, as Dimitrios Pappas picked out Mike Terranova with a long crossfield pass from near the midfield stripe, which the 34 year-old Italian striker chested down and struck past Robles for 1-1.
Terranova then netted the eventual winner in the 65th minute, after Matthias Zimmermann failed to clear a long ball to the edge of the Karlsruhe, with it eventually finding its way to the foot of the Italian for a fluky shot which Robles couldn't keep out of his net.
The loss leaves Karlsruhe one point ahead of the relegation zone, and they will need to pick up all three points on Friday when they host Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Union Berlin 1 - 1 FC Ingolstadt 04
Edson Buddle was a second-half substitute for Ingolstadt on Sunday, as they battled to a draw at FC Union Berlin to stay well clear of the drop zone.
After neither team could work their way onto the scoreboard for the first hour, Caiuby deservedly put Ingolstadt in the driver's seat in the 61st minute when he rose high to head in a long cross from Andreas Görlitz.
The lead only lasted six minutes, with Union equalizing in a similar fashion as Karim Benyamina got his head on a high cross from Patrick Kohlmann to bring the score to 1-1.
Buddle entered the game in the 72nd minute as head coach Benno Möhlmann looked to spark his team's attack, however the Union defense withstood the pressure to send each team to the locker rooms with the draw.
The valuable point means that Ingolstadt have a seven-point safety net over the relegation zone, with their next game coming on Saturday afternoon against struggling Aue.
MSV Duisburg 0 - 1 Hertha Berlin
David Yelldell played the full 90 minutes in goal for Duisburg, helping to limit the division's leading attack to a single goal, but were unable to create any magic themselves as they lost out on taking any points.
Hertha's American Alfredo Morales was not included in the first-team squad for the game.
The only goal of the game was scored in the 27th minute, with Adrian Ramos pouncing on the ball and putting it away after a shot from Patrick Ebert bounced off the upright.
The Zebras tried increasing their attacking pressure in the second half, and while they were able to maintain some control in Hertha's half of the field, they were powerless to break down the tight defense of the visitors, with Hertha finally walking away with all three points.
VfB Stuttgart 5 - 1 Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor added another goal to his impressive season tally, but it was of little consequence in a game which saw Stuttgart II pile on five goals.
Stuttgart II jumped to a quick lead in the fourth minute when Sven Schipplock netted the first of his three goals on the afternoon, and they held the advantage through the remainder of the half.
Taylor briefly pulled Ahlen even two minutes past the intermission, however the hosts went back up one minute later when the referee awarded a penalty to Stuttgart II, allowing Tobias Rathgeb to convert from the spot.
Schipplock then added a second at the hour mark and completed his hat trick 14 minutes later to give his team a safe 4-1 lead, before David Müller completed the rout with two minutes left in regulation with their fifth score of the game.
The loss keeps Ahlen in the bottom three, now trailing Burghausen by goal differential and VfR Aaleh by one point. They will try again to break free of the drop zone on Saturday when they face a crucial test in Aalen.
Bobby Wood is recovering from an injury and did not suit up for 1860 in their 3-0 win over Fürth on Saturday.