RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover lost ground on Champions League qualification thanks to an embarrassing home loss while Edson Buddle and Ingolstadt saw their spring push for 2. Bundesliga survival finally bear fruit.
Hamburger SV 0 - 2 SC Freiburg
Daniel Williams was called into action for the final hour of Freiburg's 2-0 win at Hamburg, filling in for injured defender Heiko Butscher on Saturday to help the team push up to seventh.
Freiburg were quick to gain the upper hand on their hosts after just 16 minutes, as Cedrick Makiadi sped up the left flank and hit the ball directly in the stride of Papiss Demba Cissé, who fooled his marking defender with a step-over before blasting it straight ahead from just outside the area to the center of goal for 1-0.
Hamburg had the chance to pull even just past the hour mark when Paulo Guerrero received the ball at point-blank range with nothing but an open net in his sight, however he took an embarrassingly poor touch on the ball and knocked it behind him, ruining the opportunity.
Freiburg would then remove all doubt as to the final result with three minutes left on the clock, after Stefan Reisinger stole the ball off of Eljero Elia deep in Hamburg territory and put in a cross which Cisse headed in powerfully for his remarkable 22nd goal of the season.
The win takes Freiburg up to seventh in the standings, now three points behind Nürnberg. They pay a visit to last-place Gladbach on Saturday before closing out the season one week later at home against Leverkusen.
FSV Mainz 05 3 - 0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Ricardo Clark had a short tour of duty for Frankfurt on Saturday, leaving the game after just 21 minutes with an apparent calf injury as Frankfurt fell into relegation trouble with a 3-0 loss at Mainz.
Clark had earned his second straight start in Frankfurt's midfield, however his afternoon was spoiled early as he went down with a non-contact injury, and was forced out of the game with an apparent calf injury in the 21st minute.
As a result, he was already in the locker room by the time Frankfurt collapsed, beginning with a 26th minute comedy of errors on the defense which culminated with Andreas Ivanschitz diving in to take the ball off of a defender as he hesitated a clearance in the six-yard box, knocking it over the line for the 1-0 to Mainz.
The doubled the lead with seven minutes left in the first half after Frankfurt keeper Ralf Fährmann couldn't hold onto a free kick by Christian Fuchs, with Elkin Soto charging in to put away the rebound.
Frankfurt central defender Sebastian Rode was shown a straight red two minutes before the half when he pulled down Florian Heller as the striker was making his approach to a one-on-one with Fährmann.
The first half disaster was then completed moments before the break, with Soto grabbing his second of the afternoon when he received the ball on the left side and evaded a pair of defenders before hitting his low shot just inside the far post.
Frankfurt did calm down and prevent anymore damage in the final 45 minutes, but couldn't even come close to erasing the deficit on their way to a difficult fifth straight game without a win.
The loss sees Frankfurt drop down in the division's third-place relegation playoff spot. They will try to make up ground on Saturday when they host Cologne, and will have one last shot at redemption one week later on their visit to newly-crowned champions Dortmund.
Hannover 96 0 - 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Steve Cherundolo went the distance on Saturday, however the team was unable to create any real magic in front of last-place Borussia Mönchengladbach's goal on their way to a poor 1-0 loss at home.
DaMarcus Beasley is a forgotten man in Hannover and as usual did not suit up for the hosts.
Gladbach had their backs against the wall as the final weeks of the season still saw them in the relegation zone, and they put in a resilient performance in which they always seemed to hold the upper hand on their hosts.
The one and only goal of the game came in the 76th minute, as Marco Reus stormed up the middle of the field and saw an opening, taking no hesitation before firing his blast on the run from well outside the penalty area straight ahead and into the back of the net.
The loss leaves Hannover on the outside looking in as far as Champions League qualification is concerned. They now trail FC Bayern by two points and a vastly inferior goal differential with a visit to Stuttgart then a home game against Nürnberg waiting in their final two weekends.
Karlsruher SC 2 - 2 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Luis Robles had an active afternoon on Saturday, conceding a penalty but saving the resulting spot kick as Karlsruhe were forced to settle for a disappointing draw after blowing a two-goal lead over Düsseldorf.
Karlsruhe came out firing and quickly put up a two goal lead, first in the 28th minute when Macauley Chrisantus collected a short cross from Marco Terrazzino and put the low shot away, the four minutes later when Matthias Langkamp headed home a pass from Delron Buckley.
Robles was both goat and hero in the final ten minutes, first conceding a penalty when he knocked Maximilian Beister over in the area, then deflecting the subsequent spot kick with his foot while headed the opposite direction.
He wasn't so lucky just moments later, as Jens Langeneke headed in the follow-up corner bringing Düsseldorf to within one.
They then conceded the tying goal in the final moments of the game, with Robles badly misjudging a corner from Sascha Rösler which Ken Ilsö put away at the far post for 2-2.
Thanks to losses by the teams immediately below them, Karlsruhe remain safe for the moment, with a two-point gap over Osnabrück and the relegation playoff.
They have a fairly nice run-in for the remainder of the season, visiting already-relegated last-place team Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday the hosting a shaky Union Berlin one week later.
FSV Frankfurt 0 - 4 MSV Duisburg
David Yelldell manned the net for Duisburg as they put up the sort of explosive performance against Frankfurt which had been lacking for the entire spring so far.
Duisburg hit the ground running, going ahead after nine minutes when Olcay Sahan headed in a flipped pass by Olcay Sahan, then making it two in the 22nd minute as Yilmaz slipped past a pair of defenders and lobbed a shot from the edge of the area into the Frankfurt net.
Sahan was again the provider four minutes from time, fighting to maintain possession in the 18-yard box before sliding a pass over to Ivica Banovic for a strong 3-0.
They completed the round with one minute remaining in regulation, as Maurice Exslager hit Manuel Schäffler on the run for an emphatic finish which flew a yard inside the left post.
The three points lifts the Zebras up to seventh in the standings. They host Paderborn next week before visiting Bochum to close out the season, however both games pale in comparison to their trip to Berlin on May 21 for the German Cup final.
FC Ingolstadt 04 0 - 0 Erzgebirge Aue
Edson Buddle was called into action for the entire second half on Saturday, as Ingolstadt celebrated their 2. Bundesliga survival wit a scoreless draw against visiting Erzgebirge Aue.
Neither team was able to get onto the scoreboard in a game which lacked any real intensity until the final 20 minutes.
Aue went a man down early in the first half, but a lack of drive by Ingolstadt, who had already confirmed their survival thanks to Friday night results, meant that a scoreless draw remained throughout.
Details of the game are given in a Yanks Abroad Press Box Report.
VfR Aalen 3 - 0 Rot Weiss Ahlen
Matt Taylor went the distance for Ahlen on Saturday, but the team could only take one step closer to relegation to the Regionalliga thanks to their 3-0 loss at Aalen.
Aalen went ahead one minute past the half-hour when Sascha Traut stormed in to put away the loose ball after Ahlen keeper Andre Maczkowiak parried the ball directly in his path.
Ahlen prevented the deficit from getting any worse, but broke down in the final quarter-hour. The first shot came from Sascha Herröder, who streaked in to blast a loose ball which had hung in side the area in the 76th minute, then 11 minutes later when Anton Fink was freed into a one-on-one with Maczkowiak, which he had no problems to put away fro 3-0.
The loss leaves Ahlen just inside the bottom three, trailing Wacker Burghausen by one point with two games left on the schedule. Their path to survial is a tough one, with the team hosting fourth-place Rot-Weiß Erfurt on Saturday then paying a visit to promoted Hansa Rostock to close out the season.
Timothy Chandler sat out Nürnberg's 2-0 loss at Dortmund on Saturday with a foot laceration. The win left Nürnberg five points shy of a Europa League spot with two games left, while allowing Dortmund to officially celebrate their league title.
Neither Hertha's Alfredo Morales nor 1860's Bobby Wood suited up on Friday when the Muinch team came out 2-1 winners on their trip north to Berlin.