RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Timothy Chandler found the back of the net and Fabian Johnson picked up an assist in a full weekend of Americans playing in Germany.
1 FC Nürnberg 1 - 0 FC Kaiserslautern
It was a day to remember for Timmy Chandler, as the Nürnberg rightback got the start and the game's only goal, giving Nürnberg a sorely needed three points against fellow relegation candidate Kaiserslautern.
Dieter Hecking made two changes to his team in desperate need of a positive result, bringing on Tomas Pekhart in attack and Dominic Maroh for the struggling Swiss Tim Klose.
Nürnberg came into the match in the midst of an eight game winless streak, which saw them plummet all the way down into the drop zone, while Kaiserslautern had been struggling all season long as well and had a paltry 13 points before Saturday's match.
The first scene of note came in the 13th minute, as Chandler pounced on defender Bugera's botched clearance, carrying the ball past one defender before rifling home a left-footed shot from just inside the area. It was his first goal of the year, and second in his career.
Nürnberg had chances to put the game away with Alexander Esswein failing to score on two separate occasions in the 64th and 75th minutes respectively.
But Kaiserslautern's offense was anemic at best as they failed to generate a single shot in the second half. In turn Nürnberg got a most deserved victory in their relegation battle.
Up next for Nürnberg is a Sunday trip to Hamburg to take on the HSV.
Borussia Dortmund 2 - 0 FC Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones was one of the few bright spots for Schalke as the midfielder got the start and put in a solid performance as Schalke was thoroughly dominated by their archrivals Dortmund in the Signal Iduna Park.
Schalke head man Huub Stevens forewent any changes to his team that came into the Revierderby on the heels of a convincing 4-0 defeat of Nürnberg, meaning that Jones got his fifth start in a row in front of the Schalke backline.
When Dortmund was on the ball, Schalke keeper Lars Unnerstahl had to be on his toes as the home team was always looking dangerous.
Dortmund kept Schalke pinned in their half for the rest of the first 45, but failed to extend their lead.
After the restart, Schalke sent out a life signal in the 53rd minute, but Lewis Holtby could not do anything with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's through ball other than strike the side-netting.
Any thoughts of Schalke getting back into the game were quashed in the 61st minute after some fine one-two play, shoddy defending and opportunistic finishing put the game for all intents and purposes out of reach.
After Götze's corner was seemingly dealt with and cleared towards Schalke's Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek was more determined than Schalke's Greek defender, playing the ball back into the box and onto central defender Mats Hummels, who coolly squared the ball to a wide open Lucas Barrios at the penalty spot. The Paraguayan, however, was stuffed by keeper Unnerstahl, but the rebound was slotted into the back of the net by defender Filipe Santana for the 2-0 advantage and the game's final score.
Jones did pick up his 5th yellow card of the season in the 35th minute, which rules him out of next week's Bundesliga clash against Augsburg. Jones will, however, be eligible to play on Wednesday against Stela Bucharest in Europa League action.
Hannover 96 1 - 1 Hamburg SV
Steve Cherundolo retook his place in the starting lineup on the right side of defense as Jan Schlaudraff's wonder goal got the Lower Saxons a point.
After being relegated to the bench in favor of Sofian Chahed, Cherundolo donned the captain's armband for Mirko Slomka's team once again in the wake of last week's 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Wolfsburg.
The Nord-Derby began at a breakneck pace with both teams throwing caution to the wind and numbers forward.
It was an entertaining affair, with lots of attacking intent but alas no goals before the break.
The deadlock was broken in the 64th minute as Hamburg's central defender Jeffrey Bruma extended his leg to get the sole of his foot onto Gökhan Töre's corner and redirect it past Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler.
Just ten minutes before the end of the match Hannover received a corner from the left post. Pinto saw and found a wide open Schlaudraff about 22 yards out of goal. The German risked everything, displaying an impeccable shot technique, and ripped off a screamer of a goal, volleying in the cross for the equalizer.
Hannover and Hamburg seemed to be content with the point share, as they whittled away the remaining 10 minutes without much in the way of intent in attack.
Hannover has a busy schedule this week with a match in the Europa League on Wednesday, before returning to Bundesliga action on Saturday in Freiburg.
TSG Hoffenheim 1899 1 - 1 SC Freiburg
Fabian Johnson started at right fullback for the first time this year, while Danny Williams started in midfield against his former club as Freiburg used a late goal to share the spoils against Hoffenheim.
Hoffenheim head coach Holger Stanislavski is still searching for his preferred lineup, and once again made wholesale changes over the team he fielded a week ago in a 2-0 loss in Hamburg. Johnson, who started last week in attack, filled in for the injured Edson Braafheid at right back, while Williams got back onto the field after watching from the bench seven days prior.
Hoffenheim signaled early that they were intent on giving the faithful at the Rhein-Nekar stadium something to cheer about. The hosts came close to scoring in the 8th minute, but Hoffenheim striker Mlapa banged his header into the ground and over the bar.
After 25 minutes, the home supporters had something to cheer about, as Johnson picked out Roberto Firmino after sending a clearance attempt off of a corner back into the area. The Brazilian kept his composure and popped in a left-footed shot past keeper Oliver Baumann from close range for the lead.
Hoffenheim nearly doubled their lead in the 44th minute, as Williams threaded a seeing-eye through ball behind Freiburg's backline and onto Firmino's boot. But this time, the Brazilian was thwarted by Baumann and Freiburg was let off the hook.
Freiburg wasted a golden opportunity to pull level in the 51st minute, but Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cissé could not take advantage of Anton Putsila's slick pass to send the striker in alone onto goal.
Freiburg was now clearly the better team with more from the game and more chances. Nevertheless, it looked as if the game was going to end with nothing to show for the guests.
In the 90th minute, however, Garra Dembéle, who was brought on 4 minutes earlier, pounced on a rebound at the edge of the area and fired a powerful left-footed shot past Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke for the deserved equalizer.
Up next for Hoffenheim is an away match against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday. Williams picked up his third yellow of the season in the 86th minute.
Karlsruhe SC 0 - 2 Alemmania Aachen
Luis Robles got the start in goal once again for Karlsruhe, but could not change the final outcome as Karlsruhe fell to Alemannia Aachen at home.
New head coach Jörn Andersen made his home debut after getting reacclimated last week to German soccer in a loss to Paderborn.
Saturday's match in the Wildparkstadion was a matchup of two teams at the wrong end of the table, with Karlsruhe and Aachen in 15th and 17th place respectively in the 18 team league.
Karlsruhe began the match by attacking over both wings and generated some excellent chances to open the scoring: Stefan Haas had the best of the early scoring opportunities in the 23rd minute, but he pulled his one-time effort just wide of the post.
The guests from Aachen hardly looked like a team able to score, until they did.
With their first noteworthy attack from the run of play coming in the 36th minute, Aachen broke the deadlock as striker Sergiu Radu cleaned up and put away a rebound from short range beating Robles to his right.
Although both teams were determined to play attack-minded soccer in the second half, neither squad could muster anything until Karlsruhe was caught out on the counter attack in the 87th minute. Former German national team player David Odonkor used the free real estate on the right flank to find striker Benjamin Auer in the box for a simple tap it to put the game away.
With the loss, Karlsruhe now has 12 points and sits in 16th place. Next week Karlsruhe travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
FSV Frankfurt 2 - 2 SC Paderborn
Matt Taylor was included in the starting eleven for Paderborn's match against Frankfurt, which ended with nothing separating the two clubs.
It was just the third start for Taylor in the past 10 league matches for head man Roger Schmidt, who can be accused of very little thus far in the campaign as Paderborn has been the surprise team of the league coming into the contest in a tie for 5th.
The guests only needed 6 minutes to open the scoring, as Alban Meha's freekick was pinballed around the box before Nick Proschwitz finally sent the ball into the back of the net.
Frankfurt equalized just 4 minutes after the break as Samil Cinaz got onto Zafer Yelen's corner and headed home, although he was sandwiched between two Paderborn defenders.
In the 72nd minute, Frankfurt took the lead after Macauley Chrisantus was played into space on the right edge of the box by Mario Fillinger. The lanky Nigerian striker fired the ball into the roof of the net for the 2-1 advantage.
Paderborn, however, did not take long to reply. After coming on for Taylor in the 65th minute, substitute Sören Brandy found himself behind the defense on the left flank; he crossed for the onrushing Proschwitz, who headed the ball just inside the far post for the game's final tally.
The tie gives Paderborn 32 points and leaves them in 5th place. Next week they are back in action at home against league leading St. Pauli.
Energie Cottbus 0 - 0 FC Ingolstadt
Edson Buddle received a rare start on the road for Ingolstadt as the Bavarians got an important point in Cottbus.
The best chance in the first 45 minutes came after 20 minutes, but Andreas Görlitz' cross was just out of Buddle's reach.
In the 36th minute, Buddle was booked for arguing with referee Norbert Grudzinski; it was Buddle's first caution of the year.
The second half saw a bit more attacking determination, with Cottbus holding a slight upper-hand, but both teams continued to run into stout defenses.
The host's best chance came in the 55th minute, but striker Rok Kranaveter's header from point blank was nodded wide.
Neither team could produce any more noteworthy chances, and the game ended scoreless.
With the point, Ingolstadt remained within striking distances of exiting the relegation zone, but they are still in last place with 10 points. Next week Ingolstadt hosts Braunschweig on Friday.
Neither David Yelldell, nor Alfredo Morales made the bench for Leverkusen or Hertha Berlin respectively in their thrilling 3-3 tie.
Ricardo Clark was not included in Eintracht Frankfurt's matchday roster, while Bobby Wood too was omitted from 1860 Munich's squad, as the latter beat the former 2-1.
Preston Zimmerman was a late sub for Darmstadt as they took care of Werder Bremen II 2-0.
Amaechi Igwe came on in the 79th minute for Babelsberg in a 1-0 loss to Arminia Bielefeld.