RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson were the only two Americans to start in the Bundesliga this weekend, as the German top-flight wrapped up the first half of the 2011-2012 season.
TSG Hoffenheim 1899 1 - 1 Hertha Berlin BSC
Fabian Johnson started at left fullback going the distance, while Daniel Williams was a second half substitute, as Hoffenheim 1899 entertained Hertha Berlin BSC in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
The game's opening fell in the 21st minute when Dutch winger Ryan Babel dropped the ball off for Bosnian midfield maestro Sejad Salihovic outside the box. Salihovic took one touch before sending a rocket inside the far post from about 25 yards out past Berlin keeper Thomas Kraft.
Exactly ten minutes later, the Bosnian was in the middle of the action once again, this time, however for being on the receiving end of a punch to the chest from Berlin's Raffael, who was shown a straight red; Salihovic was saw yellow for falling to the ground screaming and clutching his face.
Parody was restored in the 63rd minute when Hoffenheim's Issak Vorsah was sent off for a foul on Berlin's Adrian Ramos, who was off to the races in what would have been a one-on-one with Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke. Williams was brought on in the 66th minute to help sure up the hole in the Hoffenheim defense.
After Vorsah hit the showers early, it was all Berlin, who created a slew of chances over the course of the game's final 30 minutes.
Berlin left it late to equalize and did so in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, as Roman Hubnik put away the rebound off of Ramos' close-range effort to give the guests something from the match.
With the tie, Hoffenheim finish up a disappointing first half of the season in 9th place with 22 points. Although the Bundesliga is now on its annual winter hiatus, Hoffenheim has a German cup match on Wednesday against fellow Bundesliga team Augsburg.
FC Schalke 04 5 - 0 SV Werder Bremen
Jermaine Jones put in a full 90 minutes of work in midfield for Schalke 04 as the Royal Blues destroyed Werder Bremen thanks to a hat-trick by superstar Raúl.
Schalke head coach Huub Stevens made one change to his team from a week ago, bringing on Marco Höger for Lewis Holtby, who had to miss the match due to injury.
After both teams spent the first 10 minutes giving away possession, Schalke sprang to life. Finnish striker Teemu Pukki got things going for the home team in the 11th minute as he just narrowly missed the target with a well-timed header.
It was a sign of things to come as Schalke was now coming in droves towards Tim Wiese's goal.
In the 16th minute, Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar blasted a shot on Wiese's goal, which the keeper did well to save, but he could only parry as far as Raúl who tapped in from 5 feet out for the opener.
Raúl needed just four additional minutes to grab his second, this time taking Huntelaar's pass in the box and slotting the ball into a wide-open net from short range.
The Spaniard picked up where he left off in the second half, as he bagged number 3 in the 63rd minute. This time he got in front of his marker Lukas Schmitz to head home a Christian Fuchs cross.
The floodgates were now agape and Schalke was pouring it on. Kyriakos Papadopoulos got in an the action just four minutes later as he outjumped his man and hammered Jurado's cross into the back of the net with his head.
Huntelaar finished off the game's scoring and ended Bremen's miserable day at the office in the 70th minute by deftly chipping Wiese for Schalke's 5th of the day.
Up next for Schalke and Jones is a Wednesday trip to Gladbach for a German cup tie.
Timmy Chandler served the first of a two-game suspension on Saturday as Nürnberg pulled off arguably the most surprising result of the weekend whipping Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 on the road. David Yelldell also made the bench for Leverkusen as the number two keeper.
Steven Cherundolo was left on the bench in favor of Sofian Chahed as Hannover got a point in Kaiserslautern on Sunday.
Edson Buddle was omitted from the gameday roster for the second week in a row. Ingolstadt's coaching staff has yet to provide any info regarding the move. Ingolstadt tied Aue on Saturday 1-1.
Luis Robles was Karlsruhe's number two keeper on Saturday as they continued their losing ways, this time 3-0 to 1860 Munich.
Matt Taylor came on in the dying seconds of Paderborn's 3-2 victory at league leaders Dusseldorf.
Amaechi Igwe did not get off the bench as Babelsberg and Regensburg tied 0-0.
Preston Zimmerman was an unused sub in Darmstadt's 4-1 loss at the hands of VfL Osnabrück.