RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
It was a tough weekend for active Americans in Germany as only Steve Cherundolo and Hannover picked up any points in the top two German flights.
Hamburger SV 2 - 0 FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler manned the right flank for Nürnberg as the Franconians dropped one to a resurgent Hamburg on the road.
Chandler has been a mainstay in Dieter Hecking's starting lineup, since making his breakthrough to the big stage last season.
The guests from Nuremberg started the game with loads of attacking intent, coming close in the 2nd minute via Jens Hegeler and in the 8th minute with Christian Eigler.
The hosts, not to be outdone, were also in the mood to play attack-minded soccer, which made for an entertaining match. Hamburg's Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero rattled the woodwork in the 11th minute after breaking out on the counter attack.
In the 23rd minute, the aforementioned Guerrero took advantage of a mistake by Nürnberg midfielder Timmy Simons, as the Belgian failed to deal with a 60 yard long ball. Guerrero pounced and nutmegged keeper Rafael Schäffer.
Hamburg had the lead, but Nürnberg had the chances; Alexander Esswein hit the crossbar in the 36th minute and Tomas Pekhart sent his header off the post in the 56th minute.
In the end it was Hamburg clinical finishing that did in the guests. In the 62nd minute, some fine one-touch passing unlocked the Nürnberg defense and German winger Marcel Jansen kept his cool after Gökhan Töre played him onto goal to double the host's lead.
The loss leaves Der Club in 15th place with as many points. Chandler and Nürnberg play host to Hoffenheim and the American duo of Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson on Saturday.
SC Freiburg 1 - 1 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover 96 as he started for the Lower Saxons on the right side of defense in a tight affair against Freiburg that ended with a point for each.
After not cracking the starting lineup for about a month, Cherundolo has regained his starting spot as right fullback under head coach Mirko Slomka.
Each team had a decent scoring chance in the first 30 minutes, with Norwegian striker Mohammed Abdellaoue firing a just over the bar for the guests from Hannover in the 13th minute, while on the other side Freiburg's captain Heiko Butscher had his close-range effort blocked at the very last second in the 27th minute.
After 44 minutes the guests finally broke the deadlock as Abdellaoue's hard, low cross from the left was deflected into goal by Freiburg's Felix Bastians for an own goal.
The second half started similarly to the first with both teams manufacturing chances in the attacking third; Hannover's Konstantin Rausch and Freiburg's Anton Putsila each let long-range shots fly that were expertly parried by Oliver Baumann and Ron-Robert Zieler respectively.
Freiburg began pushing for an equalizer and were rewarded in the 67th minute when Johannes Flum's one-time cross from the right side of the box found Senegalese striker Pappis Demba Cissé, whose header wrong-footed Zieler and landed inside the far post.
Hannover was fortunate not to go a goal down in the 83rd minute, when Cissé had a clear header on goal, which only made it as far as Zieler.
With the tie, Hannover has slipped into no-man's land in the standings as they are in 8th place with 21 points. On Saturday night, Cherundolo and Hannover host Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayer Leverkusen 04 2 - 0 1899 Hoffenheim
It was a tough day at the office for Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams, as they were overmatched from the start falling to Leverkusen in a match that was not a close as the final scoreline.
Williams got his second start in a row in Hoffenheim's midfield, while Johnson, who has moved around quite a bit of late, started as an attacking midfielder on the right flank. It was Johnson's fourth start in as many games, and the second in a row that both of Hoffenheim's Americans featured in the starting 11.
The hosts came out gunning, applying pressure all over the field and turning errant passes into scoring chances.
Leverkusen's first chance came after just six minutes as Eryn Derdiyok back-heel attempt that looked to be going in was saved by a flying Tom Starke for Hoffenheim.
Just four minutes later, the Swiss striker headed home a rebound that Starke spilled off of an André Schürrle freekick for the early one-goal lead.
Hoffenheim's best chance of the night came in the 32nd minute, when striker Mlapa's cross for Ryan Babbel found the target, but the much-maligned Dutchman failed to convert as he sent his effort from in close over the bar.
Leverkusen put the game away some eleven minutes from time. Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno hit a drop kick deep into the Hoffenheim half that was flicked on by Stefan Kießling to Sidney Sam, who neatly chipped keeper Starke for the match's final tally.
The loss extends Hoffenheim's winless streak to five as they now sit firmly in the middle of the standings. Next week Hoffenheim travels to Nürnberg. David Yelldell was an unused substitute as he backed up keeper Leno for Leverkusen.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2 - 0 Karlsruhe
Luis Robles and Karlsruhe showed some heart against the league leaders on Saturday, but continued their descent down the standings as they fell to Eintracht Frankfurt in the German second flight.
Head coach Jörn Andersen gave Luis Robles his fifth start in a row between the Karlsruhe sticks, while starting keeper Dirk Orlishausen continues to rehab his injured shoulder.
Robles and co. could not have had a more disconcerting start, as the keeper spilled striker Alexander Maier's soft shot right to the feet of Hellenic poacher Theofanis Gekas, who tapped home from a yard and a half after just 42 seconds of play.
Karlsruhe's best chance at an equalizer came in the 53rd minute as Frankfurt's Gordon Schildenfeld was dispossessed just outside of his own box. However, Karlsruhe's Gaeton Krebs inexplicably opted against laying off for one of two teammates in front of goal to have a go himself from a tight angle, which Frankfurt's keeper Thomas Hessler stopped with relative ease much to the chagrin of his strike partners.
In the 63rd minute, Gekas was Johnny on the spot again, as he made an evasive run in the back of his marker to gain inside position and guided Maier's cross past Robles for the 2-0 final score.
With the loss, Karlsruhe finished the first half of the season in 16th place with a record of 3 wins, 3 ties and 11 losses. The second half of the season starts up next week in the 2. Bundesliga; Karlsruhe has an away date with fellow strugglers MSV Duisburg on Friday.
FC Ingolstadt 0 - 1 Eintracht Braunschwieg
Edson Buddle got the start in attack for Ingolstadt, who remain in last place following yet another loss in the 2. Bundesliga, this time falling at home to Braunschweig.
Buddle was not only included in the starting eleven for the second time in a row under new head coach Tomas Oral, but also went the distance for the first time all season.
The hosts had an absolute sitter in the 19th minute, but Brazilian striker Caiuby could get his uncontested header on target from a paltry 3 yards out.
As the match wore on, the guests from northern Germany began to assert themselves, although they failed to produce any clear-cut chances on goal.
In the 44th minute, what appeared to be a lazy, and harmless, cross into the box turned disastrous for the home team as central defender David Pisot headed the ball away from keeper Ramazan Özcan, who had come off his line to clear, and to a wide-open Domenik Kumbela. The Congolese-German could not believe his luck and tapped in calmly for the 1-0 lead.
Buddle had one of the best chances for an equalizer in the second half, but his glancing header in the 86th minute just curled wide of goal.
The Ingolstadt loss keeps Igolstadt at the bottom of the standings with 10 points. Next week, Buddle and Igolstadt host FC Sankt Pauli on Sunday.
Jermaine Jones was not available due to a one-game suspension after picking up his fifth yellow of the season last week against Dortmund. Schalke did just fine without him, easily dispatching FC Augsburg 3-1.
Alfredo Morales failed to make the bench as Hertha Berlin's match against Kaiserslautern ended 1-1.
Matt Taylor did not get off the bench versus Sankt Pauli on Friday as Paderborn and Pauli tied 1-1.
Bobby Wood did not make the bench as the match between 1860 Munich and Alemannia Aachen ended 2-2.
Amaechi Igwe was an unused substitute for Babelsberg in a 3-2 victory against Wehen Wiesbaden.
Preston Zimmerman was not named to the bench as Darmstadt and VfB Stuttgart II played to a 1-1 tie.