RECAP: MIDWEEK GERMAN ACTION
Midweek action in Germany saw Fabian Johnson score his second of the season in a rout of Hamburg and Timothy Chandler's get the better of Jermaine Jones.
FC Nuremberg 4 - 1 FC Schalke 04
For in-depth coverage of Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg's thrashing of Jermaine Jones and Schalke, please read David Smith's Press Box Report.
1899 Hoffenheim 4 - 0 Hamburger SV
Fabian Johnson got the start and his second goal of the season, as Hoffenheim dismantled Hamburg continuing their late season push for Europe.
Johnson got the start for Markus Babel's team, while Daniel Williams had to watch from the sidelines.
After an initial 15 minutes that saw the guests from Northern Germany in the ascendency, Danish striker Jannik Vestergaard struck to put the guests up front in the 17th minute. Taking a feed from Tobias Weis, Vestergaard pulled the trigger from just outside the box. Hamburg defender Jeffrey Bruma deflected the shot just enough to leave keeper Jaroslav Drobny no chance at a save.
Hamburg's Heiko Westermann, captain and German national team member, let a routine ball get away from him in the box and land at the feet of Hoffenheim's Sven Schipplock. Westermann tried to atone for his mistake, but could only foul the striker for a penalty, which Sehad Salihovic converted in the 25th minute.
A mere 6 minutes after the restart, Johnson received a threaded pass from Salihovic on the left flank. Johnson then proceeded to dance past three opposing defenders, before putting the ball inside the far post for the 3-0 advantage and his second tally on the season.
Sven Schipplock got on the scorer's himself in the 59th minute as he profited from a turnover by Gojko Kacar on the edge of the box, taking the ball with his right, before firing in near post with his right.
Williams came on to replace Weis in the 85th minute with the game firmly in hand.
Hoffenheim travel to Freiburg on Sunday to take on Williams' former employer.
Hannover 96 2 - 0 VfL Wolfsburg
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover picked up three big point in their quest to qualify for next year's Europa League.
Cherundolo was back in the starting 11 after sitting out last weekend's match, and saw the guests from Wolfburgs get the better start. Only keeper Ron Robert Zieler kept the guests off the scoreboard with excellent saves in the 5th, 24th and 30th minutes.
Hannover had difficulties getting into the game; their first chance at goal did not come until 34 minutes had elapsed with Didier Ya Konan missing the target from 15 yards out.
Hannover's next chance, however, bore fruit.
Mame Diouf converted from close range after Jan Schlaudraff found the striker with a ball over the defense. Diouf appeared to use his left hand a bit, but referee Peter Sippel let it go and Diouf dinked a left-footed shot past keeper Diego Benaglio in the 44th minute.
The hosts put the game to bed in the 77th minute as Schlaudraff once again played set-up man, this time finding Ya Konan with a cutting through ball that the Ivorian expertly converted.
The victory leaves the Lower Saxons in 7th place with 44 points, 2 ahead of Werder Bremen for the last Europa League spot. Cherundolo and Hannover travel to Hamburg on Saturday to take on a faltering HSV.
Darmstadt 1 - 1 RW Oberhausen
Preston Zimmerman started and went the distance as Darmstadt picked up a point against Rot-Weiß Oberhausen in the German 3rd division.
Zimmerman returned to the starting 11 after beginning on the bench a week ago.
Darmstadt snagged an early goal to give the home fans something to cheer about as central defender Andreas Gaebler converted a hotly contested penalty decision given after a Zimmerman cross was adjudged to have been handled in the box in the 13th minute.
Darmstadt, however, was unable to hold onto the lead when Oberhausen striker David Jansen notched his 4th goal of the season with a firmly struck left-footed shot in the 38th minute.
The second half failed to produce any more goals with both teams picking up a point.
Darmstadt now has 42 points and sits in 13th place. Their next match is against Carl Zeiss Jena on Saturday.
Andrew Wooten saw some second half minutes as Kaiserslautern lost yet again, this time falling to Leverkuser 3-1.
Alfredo Morales was an unused sub in Berlin's 2-1 defeat to Freiburg.
Matthew Taylor came on in the 90th minute for Paderborn as they picked three road points against Aue winning 2-0