RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Jermaine Jones and Steve Cherundolo continued their winning ways with their club teams, while Timothy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, Daniel Williams, Andrew Wooten and Alfredo Morales each came up short.
1.Kaiserslautern 1 - 4 Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones started and went the distance for Schalke 04, while Andrew Wooten saw 30 minutes of playing time for Kaiserslautern as the guests from Gelsenkirchen came from behind to dispatch the hosts with relative ease.
Jones and Schalke had barley broken a sweat when the home team jumped out to an early lead in the 2nd minute, as Christian Tiffert's deep cross to the far post found fullback Rodnei, who headed home for the 1-0 advantage.
Jones' figurative headache became literal in the 27th minute as he and Kaiserslautern's Florian Dick clashed heads, with the American left bloodied. After receiving a good five minutes worth of treatment, and a royal blue skullcap, Jones was able to continue.
As the first half progressed, Schalke slowly shook off any lingering fatigue from their midweek Europa league contest and began dominating the hosts soundly.
In the 38th minute, they finally bagged a much-deserved equalizer as young German starlet Lewis Holtby sent a rocket of a shot into the left upper 90 from the edge of the box that swerved away from Kaiserslautern's keeper Tobias Sippel for a spectacular leveler.
Schalke then took the lead just before the halftime whistle thanks to a miscue while Kaiserlautern was pushing numbers forward.
Christian Fuchs picked Kaiserslautern midfielder Christian TIffert's pocket clean in the center of the field driving at the defense until he found Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on the left side of the penalty area. The Dutchman cut back inside, creating space between him and his marker, and then fired home to the near post for the 2-1 advantage.
The second half started the way the first ended with Schalke thoroughly dominating the Palatinates.
In the 50th minute, Raul fired a sublime left-footed one-timer from 20 yards out inside the far post with his left to effectively put the game away at 3-1.
In a last-ditch effort to inject life into his team's attack brought on two fresh strikers in the 61st, one of which was young German-American Andrew Wooten.
In the 80th minute, Jefferson Farfan played a give and go with Holtby on the counter attack, before completing the scoring by sliding the ball into a wide-open net.
Jones' received the captain's armband from Raul in the 76th minute after the Spaniard was subbed off for Finnish striker Teemu Pukki.
Jones and Schalke host Leverkusen this coming weekend that could go a long way to determining who will get into the Champions League. Wooten and Kaiserslautern also have a make or break match of their own on Saturday, albeit at the other end of the table, as they travel to Freiburg.
Hannover 96 4 - 1 FC Cologne
Steve Cherundolo started and captained for Hannover 96 as they scored a convincing victory of Cologne on Sunday.
Cherundolo manned the right flank for the 4th time in as many games in the past two weeks alone for head coach Mirko Slomka and showed no signs of fatigue as he went the distance.
Hannover opened the scoring in the 18th minute as Koka Rausch cut in a pass from the left flank to Mohammed Abdelloue, who played wide right to Jan Schlaudraff. Schlaudraff hammered his shot on target, but right at keeper Michael Rensing. Rensing, though, spilled the rebound to Lars Stindl, who cleaned up from short range.
Despite being thoroughly outplayed for much of the first half, Cologne pulled level just before the first 45 were up as Kevin Pezzoni beat Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler with a headed corner.
Building off their equalizer in the first half, Cologne began the second in the ascendency and had four first-rate chances to grab the lead in the 57th and 58th minutes, but either Zieler or the post were in their way, or they squandered the chances by not hitting the target.
Hannover punished Cologne for their profligacy in the 59th minute, as fullback Sereno fouled Rausch in the box and Schlaudraff converted the ensuing penalty.
The hosts out of Lower Saxony added a third in the 68th as substitute Mam Diouf finished off a counter, before he rounded out the day's scoring with a header off of a corner by Stindl in the 83rd minute.
1899 Hoffenheim 1 - 2 VfB Stuttgart
Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams got the start and put in 90 minutes of work on Friday night, but it was winter wantaway striker Vedad Ibisevic who came back to torment his old club.
Williams made his XVXVXV consecutive start for Hoffenheim, while Johnson returned to the starting lineup after being forced out of last week's game against Bayern Munich.
Just 8 minutes into the match Hoffenheim were down a goal.
Stuttgart fullback Khaled Boulahrouz slipped in a through ball to Ibisevic behind the defense, and the Bosnian made not mistake of beating Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke.
Stuttgart added a second just before the break, as the same production team on the game's first goal returned for a sequel in the 43rd minute: Boulahrouz to Ibisevic - 2-0.
Hoffenheim came out of the locker room more aggressive and looked to be a different team and created dangerous scoring chances, seemingly at will.
The home team, however, had to wait until the 74th minute to pull one back as Sehad Salihovic converted a penalty after Johnson was fouled in the box by Mexican center back Maza.
Hoffenheim now had their ears pinned back and began ferociously attacking the Stuttgart goal in search of an equalizer.
They had their chances in the 79th and 83rd minutes via Sven Schipplock and Salihovic respectively, but could not put the ball in the net before time expired.
Up next for Johnson and Williams is a Saturday match away to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
FC Nuremberg 1 - 3 VfL Wolfsburg
Timothy Chandler put in 66 minutes of work for Nuremberg, who were undone by an opportunistic VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
The game needed a good ten minutes to get going and produce the game's first chance, fortunately for Chandler and Nuremberg, it led directly to an opener.
Alexander Esswein was left unmarked on the left flank and crossed to Daniel Didavi, who was all alone to head into the back of the net unmolested.
Wolfsburg then recovered almost immediately and needed just five minutes to equalize, with Marcel Schaeffer finding Mario Mandzukic on the far post to nod past Nurember keeper Rafael Schaeffer.
The game's third real chance lead to the game's third goal, with Patrick Helmes finishing off Mandzukic's move with a well-struck volley for the 2-1 Wolfsburg lead in the 24th minute.
Wolfsburg put the game to bed in the 54th minute as Helmes displayed his predatorial instincts once more by firing home a second volley for the game's final 3-1 tally.
Up next for Chandler and Nuremberg is a Sunday trip to Stuttgart.
Hertha Berlin BSC 0 - 6 Bayern Munich
Alfredo Morales saw 45 minutes of second half action, and was called for two penalties, as Bayern Munich ran rampant on Berlin increasing the pressure on Hertha.
Morales started the game on the bench and had the best seat in the house to witness the goal-scoring machine that is Bayern Munich at present.
The guests from Bavaria needed a mere 8 minutes to grab an early goal as Thomas Müller made Berlin pay for leaving him unmarked by hammering in a goal from 10 yards out.
Just four minutes later, Aryen Robben scored on a scorcher of a shot from 15 yards out, before he added a second in the 20th minute, with the latter being a converted penalty.
At the begin of the second half, Berlin head coach Otto Rehhagel brought on Morales for Fanol Perdedaj.
In the 50th minute, Morales fouled Franck Ribery in the box for a penalty, which Mario Gomez converted easily.
Bayern waited a grand total of 60 seconds before adding a 5th goal, as Toni Kroos cleaned up in front of an empty net.
In the 67th minute, Morales brought down Ribery in the box once again, the third penalty of the day conceded by Berlin, which Robben converted, firing inside the left post.
Berlin and Morales are back in action on Saturday as they travel to Mainz.
Darmstadt 2 - 1 Heidenheim
Preston Zimmerman bagged what turned out to be the game winner as Darmstadt knocked off Heidenheim in the 3. Bundesliga.
Zimmerman and Darmstadt came out in front of their home fans in scintillating form and scored a goal in the match's opening minute.
Andreas Gaebler crossed from the right edge of the box to Rudolf Hübner, who headed past Heidenheim keeper Frank Lehmann for the 1-0 lead after 45 seconds.
Hübner went from goal scorer to set-up man in the 15th minute, as the striker slipped in a slick pass to Zimmerman, who kept his cool in front of Lehman to double Darmstadt's advantage.
Heidenheim pulled within a goal in the 82nd minute, as Darmstadt failed to clear and Marc Schnatterer pounced on a loose ball to make things interesting in the last 10 minutes of the match.
Darmstadt, however, shored things up at the back and held on for the victory.
Darmstadt and Zimmerman play Offenbach next Saturday.
David Yelldell was the backup goal keeper for Leverkusen on Saturday, who fell to Gladbach 2-1.
Matthew Taylor saw some late second-half action as Paderborn was thumped 4-0 by Igolstadt.
Amaechi Igwe did not make the bench as Babelsberg tied Carl-Zeiss Jena 0-0.