RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Alfredo Morales made his debut in Hertha's starting 11 in a loss to Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96, while Timothy Chandler made his Nürnberg return in a loss to Dortmund.
FC Nürnberg 0 - 2 Borussia Dortmund
Timothy Chandler returned to action as a second-half substitute after serving his two-game ban, but could not prevent his team from falling further down the standings after coming up short against league leaders Dortmund.
Chandler was named to the gameday roster for the first time this calendar year after missing two matches for picking up a red card in Nürnberg's final Budesliga match of 2011.
Nürnberg head coach Dieter Hecking, however, opted to start Markus Feulner in Chandler's usual right-back spot.
The first 20 minutes of the encounter were dominated by the underdogs from Franconia, who should have taken the lead in the 18th minute, but Czech striker Tomas Pekhart blasted his effort from three yards out over the bar.
After being let off the hook, the reigning Bundesliga champs grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and began controlling the run of play and creating chances, as Robert Lewandowski and Kevin Großkreutz each had great chances to open the scoring in the 22nd and 26th minutes.
It was scoreless at the break, but Dortmund was clearly in the ascendancy.
The guests from North-Rhine Westphalia picked up in the second half where they left off in the first. After just three minutes had passed the breakthrough came as Polish defender Lukas Piszczek got in behind the defense and laid off for Sebastian Kehl, who fired home for the 1-0 lead.
With Nürnberg behind, Hecking brought on Alexander Esswein and Chandler in an effort to find an equalizer.
However, it was a substitute on the other side that put the game to bed.
The much-maligned Lucas Barrios was brought on in the 72nd minute and needed just ten minutes to put the game out of reach after pouncing on a rebound.
With the loss, Nürnberg is just three points above the relegation zone. Next up for the Franconians and Chandler is a vital relegation battle against Augsburg on Saturday.
Hertha Berlin BSC 0 - 1 Hannover 96
Alfredo Morales squared off against Steve Cherundolo in the German capital, as Hannover spoiled Morales' debut in the starting lineup winning a close match going away.
Morales was one of two changes Berlin coach Michael Skibbe had make to the Hertha back line as Sebastian Neumann also made his first start for the senior team with Christian Lell and Christoph Janker missing out due to suspension and injury respectively.
Cherundolo donned the armband for the Lower Saxons taking his spot on the right flank.
The match really got going after a good 30 minutes, and the best chance of the first 45 came in the 41st minute as Berlin striker Pierre Lasogga's close-range effort was cleared off the line; shortly thereafter Lasogga did find the back of the net, but the goal was waived off for off-sides.
While Morales put in a solid effort on his right flank, Berlin's other debutant, Neumann, had a day to forget.
In the 68th minute, Hannover's Norwegian goal-getter Mohammed Abdellaoue took advantage of a swath of space gifted to him by Neumann and powered a left-footed shot into the back of the net for the advantage.
Just over five minutes later, Neumann's day came to a premature end as he was shown his second yellow card to reduce Berlin to ten men.
A man down and facing a compact defense, Berlin was unable to find the remedy to break down the Lower Saxon defense for what would have been a deserved equalizer.
Up next for Berlin and Morales is a trip to southern Germany to take on VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, while simultaneously Cherundolo and Hannover travel to Mainz.
1899 Hoffenheim 2 - 2 FC Augsburg
Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson both started and went the distance for Hoffenheim, who last won at home in late October.
Head coach Holger Stanislawski made four changes to his team after being thoroughly pummeled a week ago by Borussia Dortmund, but neither Williams nor Johnson were benched.
The game's first goal fell in the 31st minute as Augsburg defender Sebastian Langkamp flicked on for striker Sascha Mölders, who ripped off a left-footed shot from 9 yards out past Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke.
The hosts did not need long to restore parity when Bosnian midfielder Sehad Salihovic floated a sublime ball over the top of the Augsburg defense to Penial Mlapa, who inadvertently controlled with his shoulder before topping the cross by expertly chipping Augsburg keeper Simon Jentzsch for the equalizer.
In the 51st minute, the hosts grabbed the lead after defender Jan Callsten-Bracker brought down Roberto Firmino in the box. Salihovic stepped up and converted the penalty for the one-goal advantage.
The guests grabbed a deserved equalizer 20 minutes later as keeper Starke misjudged Daniel Baier's corner giving Langkamp a free header from close range, which the defender did not miss.
Augsburg nearly snatched a winner just six minutes later, but Mölders was thwarted by the woodwork after yet another blunder by the otherwise so reliable Starke. His mistake went unpunished and the match ended 2-2.
Next up for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga is a Saturday trip to Bremen to take on SV Werder.
SV Babelsberg 0 - 2 Preußen Münster
Amaechi Igwe got the go from the opening whistle, but could not help Babelsberg snap their winless streak.
Igwe started at left back for head coach Dietmar Demuth, who was forced into two changes due to injury and suspension including leading goal scorer.
The first goal came in the 20th minute as Preußen midfielder Jens Truckenbrod caught a volley flush, driving it past Babelsberg keeper Daniel Zacher.
The guests then doubled their advantage in the 30th minute when the newly-acquired Marco Königs dribbled through the defense before slotting home past Zacher.
The absence of top goal-getter Dominik Stroh-Engel certainly hurt the home team as they failed to generate any serious chances over the 90 minutes.
In their next match, Babelsberg travel to Heidenheim on Saturday.
Darmstadt 0 - 1 Wehen Wiesbaden
Preston Zimmerman came off the bench but could not kick start the offense, as Darmstadt inched closer to the relegation zone after losing at home.
Darmstadt head man Kosta Runjaic deployed the same 11 that fell a week ago to Bielefeld 3-2, which meant that Zimmerman had to grab a seat on the bench to start.
The game's only goal came in the 34th minute, when central defender Cem Islamoglu gifted possession to Wiesbaden's Stefan Wohlfahrt, who had no trouble beating Darmstadt keeper Jan Zimmermann.
Darmstadt did catch a break a few minutes later when Wiesbaden's defender Nikolas Ledgerwood was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct in the 37th minute.
Zimmerman was brought on in the 61st minute for Benjamin Baier, but was unable to help his team find an equalizer.
Darmstadt is scheduled to take on Regensburg on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones was still suspended for Schalke's 1-1 tie against Mainz 05 on Saturday.
David Yelldell was not named to the squad for Leverkusen's 2-2 tie against VfB Stuttgart.
Matt Taylor suited up, but did not play in Paderborn's 3-2 triumph over Union Berlin.