RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
It was a weekend to forget for Americans in the top two tiers, with only Jermaine Jones and Schalke tasting victory. In the third division, Preston Zimmerman grabbed a goal.
FC Mainz 05 2 - 1 FC Nuremberg
Timothy Chandler put in 65 minutes of work on Saturday as his Nuremberg came up short against Mainz.
Chandler manned the right flank in coach Dieter Hecking's starting 11, as Der Club fell behind early and never fully recovered despite their best efforts.
By the time the echoes of the opening whistle in the Coface Arena in Mainz had dissipated, the hosts had already firmly imposed their attacking will on the guests from Franconia.
In the first 57 seconds of the match, Mainz' Eric Maxim Choupo Moting hit the woodwork not once, but twice, with the latter of the two strikes caroming off the post and landing at the feet of Nicolai Müller in front of a wide-open goal. The young German needed only tap in for the early advantage.
A goal up and the home crowd at their back, Mainz forechecked with such intensity that Nuremberg hardly managed to get out of their own half in the first quarter of an hour.
Mainz added a second in the 22nd minute, as Mohamed Zidan tallied from about 25 yards on a freekick that was intended as a cross. The freekick, however, found no one, including the defense, and made its way into the back of the net.
Zidan has now scored for the 6th time in as many games since returning from Dortmund in the January transfer period.
Nuremberg pulled one back in the second half as substitute Daniel Didavi's shot from 23 yards out took a deflection off of Jan Kirchhof that left Mainz keeper Christian Wettklo with no chance in the 64th minute.
Nuremberg pressed for an equalizer, but Mainz constantly posed a threat as well, and in the end the hosts left the field as deserved victors.
With the loss Nuremberg is stuck on 30 points, but remains in a relatively safe 11th place. Up next for Chandler and Nuremberg is a home match against VfL Wolfsburg.
FC Schalke 04 3 - 0 Hamburger SV
Jermaine Jones and Schalke got back on the winning track on Sunday dispatching Hamburg easily thanks to three first half goals.
Jones made his second start in as many games in the Bundesliga for head coach Huub Stevens, who was forced into making four changes: Papadopoulos, Holtby, Marica and Obasi gave way for Christof Metzelder, Jose Jurado, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Teemu Pukki.
Stevens' changes needed only five minutes to bear fruit as the diminutive Finn Pukki showed off his aerial prowess by thumping home an Aturo Uchida cross from short range for the early lead.
Midway through the first half the home side struck again, and once again it was a newcomer to the starting 11 that got the goal.
After Jaroslav Drobny parried a shot by Jones, Jurado's corner landed right at the feet of Metzelder, who, completely uncontested, easily sent a right-footed shot past Drobny to double the advantage.
In the 33rd minute, the fourth of Stevens' changes got on the scoring sheet, when Huntelaar was brought down by Heiko Westermann in the area. The Dutchman stepped up and converted himself for the 3-0 lead.
Hamburg pulled one back in the waning moments of the first half, as Joel Matip's failed clearance in front of Gojko Kacar, who made no mistake from 16 yards out.
Jones was shown a yellow in the 59th minute for tackling from behind, and was fortunate not to have been shown a red card.
The second half failed to produce any goals, as Schalke kept the spoils in Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke is now in fourth place, the Champions League qualification spot, with 47 points. Schalke has the return tie of their Europa League contest of Thursday against FC Twente Enschede, before taking on the league doormats in Kaiserslautern.
SV Werder Bremen 3 - 0 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover 96 as the squad from Lower Saxony fell to SV Werder Bremen thanks to their own wastefulness in front of goal and the efficiency of Bremen in attack.
Cherundolo made his third successive start for head coach Mirko Slomka's 11.
Hannover should have scored in the 14th minute, but Didier Ya Konan failed to beat Bremen keeper Wiese from 5 yards out after Hannover counter-attacked brilliantly.
On the ensuing corner, Bremen was saved not once, but twice, by Greek defender Sokratis, who shanked his first clearance, only to prevent a goal with a last-second sliding tackle on Mohammed Abdellaoue just seconds later.
Hannover continued to produce excellent scoring chances, and continued to fail to capitalize on them, while Bremen failed to get anything going offensively, until the 31st minute.
Claudio Pizarro found a pocket of space on a Mehmet Ekici freekick and walloped a right-footed shot past keeper Ron-Robert Zieler for the 1-0 lead.
Bremen added a second in the 49th minute, and once again it resulted from an Ekici freekick. This time the Turk found Sebastian Prödl, who nodded home from close range.
Just seven minutes later, Bremen bagged a third and effectively put the game to bed. Pizarro turned giver and set up Markus Rosenberg with a well-timed through ball. The Swede nutmegged the keeper, sealing Bremen's victory.
Cherundolo and Hannover have double duty this week. On Thursday they play host to Standard Liege in the Europa League and then host FC Cologne on Sunday in the Bundesliga.
FC Bayern Munich 7 - 1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson was a late scratch, but Daniel Williams got the start on Saturday against Bayern Munich in what turned out to be a humiliating defeat for Hoffenheim, in which they conceded five goals in the first half alone.
For details of this game, please check out Yanks Abroad's press box report.
SC Paderborn 07 0 - 0 VfL Bochum
Matt Taylor got the start in place of the injured Nick Proschwitz, but could not help his team find the back of the net in 90 minutes of action.
Taylor made his first start since November as head coach Roger Schmidt has come to rely on the striking services of the leading goal scorer in the 2nd division.
The guests from the Ruhr valley had the better start and created the game's first scoring chances, but both Giovanni Federico and Christoph Dabrowski failed to capitalize in the 22nd minute.
The second half failed to deliver more than a couple of half chances on either side, with the best of the bunch coming in the 50th minute for Paderborn. The hosts combined well and created a promising situation, but the final pass from Alban Meha was struck to firmly giving keeper Andreas Luthe his first real test of the day - which he passed with ease.
Despite the disappointing performance, Paderborn grabbed a point and is within striking distance at a promotion spot.
They are currently in 4th place with 50 points, just three back of league leaders Greuther Fürth. Paderborn host Ingolstadt on Saturday.
Preußen Münster 1 - 2 Darmstadt
Preston Zimmerman got a rare start, went the distance and grabbed the equalizer as Darmstadt came from behind to knock of Preußen Münster.
Zimmerman was named to the starting lineup for the first time since October and his services were needed as Darmstadt conceded an early goal.
In the 26th minute Jose Vunguidica created some space in the Darmstadt area and coolly fired inside the far post past keeper Jan Zimmermann.
Zimmerman grabbed an equalizer in the 54th minute, after the American was Johnny-on-the-spot to take advantage of a defensive miscue and tie things up.
Darmstadt snagged all three points thanks to a late winner by Uwe Hesse in the 85th minute, as he curled in a right-footed shot much to the chagrin of the home fans.
Up next for Darmstadt is an away match against Jahn Regensburg.
Alfredo Morales made the bench, but failed to see any action in Hertha Berlin's turbulent 1-0 defeat against Cologne.
Andrew Wooten did not get any action on Friday night as Kaiserslautern picked up a point against the drop versus Stuttgart.
Amaechi Igwe was not named to the bench in Babelsberg's 1-0 defeat at Oberhausen.