RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover will have to settle for the Europa League after they couldn't beat Stuttgart, while Edson Buddle finally got his way back onto the scoreboard with a jaw-dropper in Munich.
VfB Stuttgart 2 - 1 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo was in his usual starting position at right back for Hannover on Saturday as they had their Champions League hopes crushed with a 2-1 loss at Stuttgart.
The American left the game after 84 minutes as coach Mirko Slomka put all his offensive cards on the table to push for the win.
The first half had chances aplenty for both teams, however a number of narrow misses saw the game enter the halftime break knotted at zero.
Stuttgart netted the opening goal two minutes before the hour mark, after the ball was cleared from Martin Harnik's feet only to land in the path of Tamas Hajnal, who buried his shot from the edge of the box.
The lead was doubled three minutes later, as a counter saw Cacau rush through the defense and lay the ball off to Shinji Okazaki for his first goal in the Stuttgart uniform.
Hannover did manage to pull one back five minutes later, with Lars Stindl running onto a through ball from Jan Schlaudraff and firing it into goal from close to the penalty spot, however a resolute Stuttgrt defense kept the 2-1 advantage, and ended up with the full three points.
The result essentially gives Hannover little to play for in their final game at home against Nürnberg. They could feasibly be passed by fifth-place Mainz, however are guaranteed of a place in next season's Europa League regardless of the result.
FC Nürnberg 1 - 2 1899 Hoffenheim
Timothy Chandler played the full 90 minutes for Nürnberg on Saturday as a 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim saw them miss out on any chance for the Europa League.
Nürnberg went ahead just past the quarter-hour when Philipp Wollscheid struck from the edge of the penalty area, however Hoffenheim pulled even five minutes before the half when Roberto Firmino headed in a free kick from Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson.
With the game looking headed for a justified draw, Hoffenheim stole the win when Wollscheid whiffed on a clearance, allowing Sigurdsson to bear down on goal for the winner.
Details of the game are given in a Yanks Abroad press box report.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 - 0 SC Freiburg
Daniel Williams entered the game as a 68th-minute substitute for ten-man SC Freiburg on Saturday as the team attempted to lock up the defense, however it was to no avail as a pair of late goals by hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach sealed the loss.
A scoreless first half saw Gladbach with the upper hand, looking all the bit a team fighting for their very lives.
They were handed a lifeline in the 66th minute when Ömer Toprak brought down Gladbach striker Mohamadou Idrissou as the Cameroonian international ran by him, drawing his second yellow card of the game for the tactical foul.
Williams was brought on in the Freiburg defense almost immediately as the team sought to hold onto the scoreless draw, but it started to go wrong in the final ten minutes.
Mike Hanke put Gladbach in the lead in the 80th minute after his marking defender Julian Schuster slipped on the turf just inside the penalty area, firing his shot from the right side for 1-0.
Marco Reus iced the game two minutes later, slipping through the defense to run onto a fine through-ball from Hanke, hitting his shot from just outside the penalty area to the left side of goal.
Freiburg drop one spot behind Hamburg to eighth place, and will close their season on Saturday at home against Bayer Leverkusen.
MSV Duisburg 3 - 1 SC Paderborn 07
David Yelldell played the full 90 minutes for Duisburg on Sunday afternoon, as they easily surged past visiting SC Paderborn.
The Zebras took an early lead after 13 minutes, as Ivica Grlic and Ivica Banovic combined in a quick give-and-go, with the former hitting his 20-yard shot from just left of center to the lower left corner.
They doubled it two minutes past the half-hour mark, as the Paderborn defense and keeper had serious problems to clear the ball out of their own area, with Manuel Schäffler finally pouncing on it for the easy tap-in.
Paderborn striker Edmond Kapllani cut his team's deficit to one goal seven minutes into the second half as he ran onto a great through ball into the right side of Duisburg's area from Toni Wachsmuth and one-timed his shot past Yelldell.
That was, however, all she wrote for the guests with Goran Sukalo putting it out of reach with 19 minutes on the clock when he leaped high to head in a long free kick from Benjamin Kern for the final 3-1.
The win pushes the Zebras up to sixth place. They will try to play spoiler to Bochum's promotion hopes in their last league game of the season on Sunday, then face the biggest game of the season six days later when they meet Schalke in Berlin in the final of the German Cup.
TSV 1860 Munich - FC Ingolstadt 04
Edson Buddle once again featured for the second half of action, and managed to grab his third goal of the season in Ingolstadt's 1-1 draw at 1860 Munich on Sunday.
1860 went ahead just past the half-hour, as Daniel Halfar beat keeper Sascha Kirchstein with a well-hit direct free kick.
Buddle joined the attack for the second half, and earned the point for Ingolstadt with a high, looping shot that he struck as he fell to the ground.
Details of the game are given in a Yanks Abroad press box report.
Rot Weiss Ahlen 4 - 3 Rot-Weiß Erfurt
Matt Taylor brought Ahlen back from the dead on Saturday afternoon, scoring a pair of goals with the team down to spark a comeback that ultimately resulted in a vital win.
Erfurt looked to have severely dented Ahlen's hopes for survival when Tino Semmer put them ahead in the 16th minute then Marcel Reichwein made it 2-0 just eight minutes later, however Taylor and his teammates had other plans in mind.
The American cut the lead to a single goal just past the half-hour, as he ran onto a diagonal pass from Marcel Busch and fired it past Erfurt keeper Dirk Orlishausen to put Ahlen on the board.
Erfurt took a 3-1 lead into the half after Jens Möckel headed in a corner three minutes before the break, however Taylor again cut the lead to one goal in the 53rd minute when he connected with a free kick into the six-yard box from the right side by Kevin Wölk to bring Ahlen back to 3-2.
They pulled even three minutes later when Cihan Özkara scored with a fine header off of a cross from the right by Nils Ole Book, then earned the dramatic winner five minutes from full time as Özkara fought to maintain possess near the right post and dropped a short pass back to Manuel Eckel who slammed it home for the final 4-3 win.
The victory lifts Ahlen out of the relegation zone with one game remaining, although they are not out of danger yet. They will close the season on the road against already-promoted Hansa Rostock, knowing that a win is the only result that absolutely assures their place in the 3. Liga next season.
Ricardo Clark had to sit out Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-0 loss at home to Cologne on Saturday with a calf strain. The result puts Frankfurt in one of the Bundesliga's two automatic relegation spots, one point out of safety, with a season-closing trip to Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Alfredo Morales was on Hertha's bench, but sat as an unused substitute as the team won 2-0 away at Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday.
Luis Robles returned to Karlsruhe's bench in favor of Kristian Nicht, but it made no matter to the club as they lost 2-1 on the road to last-place Arminia Bielefeld. Karlsruhe are safe from relegation at the moment with a two-point cushion, but will need a home win against Union Berlin to completely assure their safety.