RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo made his return to the Bundesliga for Hannover 96 against Hertha Berlin while Daniel Williams made his season debut for SC Freiburg in defense against Werder Bremen
SV Werder Bremen 5 - 3 SC Freiburg
Daniel Williams got his first game in a Freiburg jersey playing a full 90 minutes on the right flank, but it was the return of the high-flying Werder Bremen attack of seasons past that made the difference as the hosts celebrated their 700th victory in the top division.
After working through a contract dispute that had kept him out of Freiburg's roster for the first two matches, Williams got a game on Saturday - but it was one to forget as Bremen pummled his right side of defense time and time again, netting five goals on the afternoon.
Freiburg started well, playing solid defense and pushing forward into the attacking third whenever the chance presented itself. Bremen also came out pressing the action, spreading the ball around the field and began by attacking over midfield.
Freiburg was up to the challenge and stymied Bremen early, before pouncing to take an early lead. Senegal striker Papiss-Demba Cissé chested home a cross from short range that Werder keeper Tim Wiese had misjudged, putting the hosts in a 1-0 hole after just seven minutes.
Bremen needed 15 minutes to recover, and recover they did. After a half hour of play Bremen finally broke down Freiburg's defense, as Marko Marin came unmolested over the right side, crossed and found a wide-open Clemens Fritz, who had no trouble beating Freiburg keeper Oliver Baumann from close range.
Werder added a second in the 36th when Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro took Marin's pass just outside the area then proceeded to blow past Oliver Barth and fire home past Baumann with a well-placed, right-footed shot.
The second half was nearly a mirror image of the first, as Freiburg grabbed an early goal. Substitute Daniel Caligiuri provided the service as it was Cissé once again, who netted from about two yards out just three minutes after the break.
Not to be outdone, Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf brought on Marko Arnautovic to provide the offensive spark. Arnautovic needed a mere three minutes to make an impact. Once again it was Marin who got the assist, sending in a sublime cross that Arnautovic got his head onto for the 3-2 lead after 65 minutes of play.
Freiburg was not done though, showing off the grit and never-say-die attitude that made them a tough out last year. Cissé headed a cross right at keeper Wiese in the 84th minute that the Bremen netminder could not control. Striker Stefan Reisinger was in the right spot at the right time and tapped the equalizer into an empty net.
Werder, however, had resolve in spades as well, and fired back post-haste to retake the lead. After Pavel Krmas fouled substitute Mehmet Ekici in the box, striker Aaron Hunt sent Baumann in the wrong direction for the late lead.
Bremen finally put the game to bed in the last minute of regulation and it was yet another substitute making an impact, as Brazilian Wesley finished off a 3-on-2 break by coolly slotting the ball under Baumann's outstretched left arm.
The loss leaves Freiburg with a solitary point after three matches, and they will hope to earn a much-needed win on Saturday as they host VfL Wolfsburg.
Borussia Dortmund 2 - 0 FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler and FC Nürnberg had a tall order on Saturday taking on the reigning champs from Dortmund. Despite the stature of the opposition, Nürnberg stood tall and made life difficult but lost going away.
The visitors had the better start and could have scored early, but Neven Subotic cleared Chandler's whizzing cross before Christian Eigler could get to it in the 12th minute. The match then progressed to a midfield battle, with neither team giving an inch and neither really posing any scoring threat.
That all changed in the 38th minute. The sellout crowd in the Signal-Iduna Park had to hold their collective breath as the guests had a golden opportunity to take the lead. Belgian midfielder and captain Timmy Simmons picked up an errant pass just outside the Nuremberg goal and sent a seeing-eye pass behind the defense onto a sprinting Jens Hegeler. Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller was way off his line, but was able to swat away Hegeler's chip shot. The Nuremberg man pulled his follow-up effort wide, much to the relief of the home fans.
That seemed to wake up Dortmund. Shortly thereafter the hosts had their best chance in the first 45 minutes of play, but Polish striker Robert Lewandowski could not beat debutant keeper Robert Rakovsky.
Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp was visibly displeased with his team's performance in the first half, but made no changes. Dortmund came out more lively and wasted no time in making their presence known taking the lead five minutes after the break.
After a harmless corner that Weidenfeller gathered easily, the burly keeper hurled the ball about 35 yards in the air, took one bounce and then landed at the feet of Mario Götze. The highly-touted youngster made two defenders miss, before laying off for Lukasz Piszczek. Piszczek tapped the ball back one-time into space for Götze, who found Lewandowski in the box. The young Pole fired the ball under the crossbar for the 1-0 lead.
Nürnberg should have equalized in the 78th minute, but a wide-open Julian Wießmeier completely missed judged Chandler's cross letting Dortmund off the hook.
Just two minutes later, the reigning champs made their guests pay. Kevin Großkreutz had a go from distance, where his shot took a wicked deflection and ended up in goal, securing the final 2-0 win.
Chandler put in a solid 90 minutes on Saturday, as he has in every game so far this season. Barring any surprises, he will continue that streak next week as FC Nürnberg look to break a two-game skid as they host FC Augsburg on Saturday.
Hannover 96 1 - 1 Hertha BSC Berlin
Steve Cherundolo made his return to the Bundesliga as he captained Hannover on Sunday against the newbies from the German capital, while Alfredo Morales looked on from the bench.
Berlin was determined to keep an organized defensive front to combat Hannover's attack and the hosts had difficulty producing any noteworthy scoring chances.
In the 33rd minute Berlin playmaker Rafael vacated his spot in the wall, giving Sergio Pinto a wide-open lane to take his free kick from about 25 yards. Pinto hit it hard and low, and Berlin keeper Thomas Kraft could do nothing about the 1-0 lead for Hannover.
Berlin's best chance of the first half came in the 43rd minute, but Rafael's attempt from the edge of the area missed the goal by a foot.
The second half also proved to be low on attacking soccer, but both teams did have the odd chance to score. Berlin's Patrick Ebert met his match in keeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the 64th minute, while Manuel Schmiedebach could not get his curling effort on target in the 68th.
The guests from Berlin had one brilliant move in the second half, and it bore fruit. Midfielder Christian Lell combined neatly with Ebert. The former found himself in space on the right flank and sent in a sharp cross to substitute Pierre Lassoga, who made no mistake with his one-time, left-footed shot from close range to equalize in the 83rd minute.
Hannover substitute Christian Pander put the ball in the back of the net in the 89th minute, but referee Robert Hartmann disallowed the goal for offsides. Replays showed nothing of the sort. Hannover's players, coaches and fans were furious, as the goal would have put Hannover in first place.
Next week Cherundolo and Hannover have a busy week. First up is a trip to Sevilla on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa league match up, then they travel to Mainz 05 on Sunday.
Morales will hope to see some of the game on Friday night as Berlin hosts VfB Stuttgart.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth 3 - 0 FC Igolstadt 04
Edson Buddle came on as a second half substitute with his team already two goals down to co-leaders Fürth and was unable to spark a comeback in Friday 2. Bundesliga action.
The favored hosts from Fürth wasted little time in taking it to a shaky Igolstadt team that has been struggling thus far, only managing two points from five games. Canadian striker Olivier Occean put Fürth up in the 9th minute tapping in Sven Schröck's low cross from close range.
Fürth seemed content with the lead, and, with the exception of a couple of half chances, had no real additional scoring chances in the first 45. They needed only eight minutes to score in the second half, as Occean flicked the ball over to strike partner Christopher Nöthe, who slammed the ball into the back of the net with a right-footed shot in the 53rd minute.
Igolstadt's head coach Benno Möhlmann had to try and spark the offense, and brought on Buddle in the 60th minute for the largely ineffective Ahmed Akaichi. The American was starved of service, as the midfield was now soundly dominated by the hosts.
Fürth put the game away in the 74th minute with 18 year-old substitute Felix Klaus heading home Schröck's cross past keeper Sascha Kirchstein from 6 yards out.
Ingolstadt was finished and is left in 17th place with two points from 5 games. Next week they will try to get their first victory of the season as they host newly-promoted Hansa Rostock on Friday.
SV Darmstadt 98 1 - 1 Jahn Regensburg
Preston Zimmerman finally saw some action for Darmstadt, putting in about an hour's work up front in his team's 1-1 tie against league leaders Regensburg on Saturday.
Head coach Kosta Runjaic made one change to last week's victorious squad that defeat Wiesbaden away, bringing on Zimmerman in attack for injured striker Sascha Amstätter.
The home fans at the Böllenfalltor stadium had something to cheer about early, as defender Laurito lost the ball in a bad spot to Darmstadt's Uwe Hesse. The striker unselfishly played the ball over to a wide-open Kevin Wölk for the early 1-0 score.
The league-leading guests failed to find any kind off attacking rhythm after conceding early, with their first chance of the match not coming until 40 minutes had been played. But Tobias Schweinsteiger, older brother of Bayern Munich's Bastian, was foiled from point-blank range by Darmstadt goalie Jan Zimmermann.
The second half was short on highlights in the early going with the most notable scene coming in the 60th minute, as coach Runjaic subbed off Zimmerman for Benjamin Baier.
Just ten minutes later, the guests got back on level terms. The aforementioned Schweinsteiger was fouled by Andreas Gaebeler in the box after being free on goal. Gaebeler was sent off and Schweinsteiger had no problems converting from the spot.
A man down and content with a point against Regensburg, Darmstadt concentrated on defending and secured a point that they will be happy to have.
Next up for Zimmerman and Darmstadt is a Saturday match against Erfurt.
SV Babelsberg 03 2 - 2 FC Heidenheim
Amaechi Igwe played the entire 90 minutes in an entertaining affair that saw Babelsberg come back from two goals down to snag a point against co-leaders Heidenheim.
Heidenheim showed Babelsberg why they are one of the best teams in the 3rd division early and often. After applying pressure all over the place, a sharply hit cross was deflected by Babelsberg defender Ronny Surma into his own net for an own goal in the 12th minute.
Heidenheim, although fortunate to have the lead, were the better team and almost extended their advantage in the 31st and 34th minutes, but Babelsberg keeper Marian Unger prevented further damage. In the 37th minute, however, Unger could do nothing about Christian Essig's finely-struck freekick that curled into the far corner after beating the wall for 2-0.
Babelsberg came out with the same players, but a completely different team. They turned the tables and applied pressure as soon as the guests were in possession. Their energetic defending, however, did not immediately translate into scoring chances, although it did produce a flurry of cautions; Igwe was booked in the 65th minute for the third time this season.
Babelsberg were finally rewarded for their heart in the 75th minute, as substitute Malik Bolivard pulled one back. Babelsberg were now flying and had two great chances in the ensuing two minutes, but failed to take advantage.
In the 81st minute, Babelsberg got the equalizer they were pressing for. Defender Florian Grossert got onto a ball and fired home with his right foot from about 20 yards, earning his team their share of the points.
Babelsberg has to be encouraged by their showing, but also somewhat concerned as they have now gone four games without a victory. Next week Igwe and Babelsberg travel to Offenbach on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones was an unused substitute for Schalke 04 as they came from behind to defeat Mainz 05 4-2 on Sunday.
David Yelldell suited up, but did not play as Leverkusen defeated Stuttgart 1-0.
Bobby Wood is still waiting for his first appearance of the season after he was unable to get off the bench for 1860 Munich's 3-1 loss to Düsseldorf.
Luis Robles' remained second choice for Karlsruhe, who fell to Cottbus 2-0.
Ricardo Clark was not named to Eintracht Frankfurt's bench for their 4-0 derby win against city rivals FSV Frankfurt.
Matt Taylor was not needed on Sunday as Paderborn got an away victory against Dresden 2-1.