RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Bobby Wood made a surprise return to 1860's first team in their draw at Union Berlin while Timothy Chandler and Nürnberg earned their share of the points in a feisty Frankenderby in Fürth.
FC Bayern 5 - 0 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover had an afternoon to forget, as the team were blown out on their trip to league leaders FC Bayern on Saturday.
Hannover had barely any time to settle into the game before they found themselves with a deficit, as Javi Martinez scored a spectacular no-look overhead kick from close range following a corner that wasn't cleared from the area.
Not to be outdone, Toni Kroos added am almost equally spectacular second goal 20 minutes later, striking Philip Lahm's cross from the edge of the area past the helpless Hannover keeper with an off-balanced rocket of a volley.
Then in the 37th minute, Franck Ribery put the game out of reach, finding space in the middle of the area to collect a pass from Thomas Müller and strike it from near the penalty spot.
Not satisfied with only three, the Bavarians completed the rout in the second half, with defender Dante heading in a free kick from Kroos in the 63rd, then Mario Gomez marking his return to action after a long injury break in style, working behind the defense and hitting from the left edge of the six-yard box just 26 seconds after entering the game.
The result drops Hannover into eighth place, however they will be eager to take out their aggressions on last-place Fürth on Tuesday evening.
FC Schalke 04 1 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Jermaine Jones put in a 90-minute shift for Schalke on Saturday afternoon, as the team could only manage a draw at home against a surprisingly hot Eintracht Frankfurt team.
Schalke looked well on their way to a victory over the season's surprise team when they took the lead after just 11 minutes, as Lewis Holtby fed the streaking Klass Jan Huntelaar in the middle of the penalty area for a clean finish and the 1-0 lead.
However their joy was short-lived, after Stefan Aigner pulled the visitors even two minutes later when he headed in a long looping cross from Bastian Oczipka.
With three minutes left in the game, Schalke were given a short opportunity to claw out a win after Karim Matmour was shown a second yellow for a high tackle on Roman Neustädter, however the scoreline held, giving each team a share of the spoils.
Schalke fall behind arch-rivals Dortmund and into third place, and will be back on the field on Tuesday with a midweek trip to Hamburg.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth 0 - 0 FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler played the full 90 minutes for Nürnberg on Saturday, as a pair of red cards were the highlight in a scoreless Frankenderby in Fürth.
In a largely ugly game where little attacking flair was on display from either team, Nürnberg were first reduced to ten men in the 35th minute when Markus Feulner slid in for a reckless high tackle on Milorad Pekovic directly in front of the referee.
At the hour mark, the hosts saw one of their own ejected after Sercan Sararer carelessly struck Javier Pinola in the face with his forearm as both jockeyed for position.
In the end, both of these relegation candidates were powerless to take matters into their own hands, with the referee's whistle finally putting an end to the snoozer.
Nürnberg climb just above the relegation line with the point, and will hope to add further distance on Wednesday when they host 16th-place Hoffenheim.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 1 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Fabian Johnson's second-half goal wasn't enough to spark a Hoffenheim come-back on Sunday afternoon, as they suffered another setback in their home loss to Leverkusen.
Daniel Williams was on the bench for the Hoffe but not called into action, while Leverkusen third-string keeper David Yelldell was not in the team's traveling squad.
Leverkusen quickly asserted their dominance over the struggling Hoffenheim team, jumping into the lead after 15 minutes when a free kick from Gonzalo Castro went uncleared, with Lars Bender eventually pocking it in from seven yards.
Daniel Carvajal provided the Werkself with their second, playing a quick give-and-go with Andre Schürrle and rounding the keeper before hitting a low-angled shot inside the far post in the 38th minute.
Johnson did give the Hoffe some hope of a come-back just before the hour when he pulled down a cross from Kevin Volland in the area, took a step into space and fired it out of the keeper's reach, but there were no more fireworks for the hosts.
Having fallen behind Nürnberg in the relegation and into 16th place, the Hoffe is now looking for freedom from the relegation zone, which they can fleetingly attain when they visit the Franconians on Wednesday evening.
Leverkusen remain fifth and well in the fight for a Champions League spot, and will return to action with a trip to the almighty Bremen on Wednesday.
FC Union Berlin 2 - 2 TSV 1860 Munich
Bobby Wood made a surprise return to the field for 1860's first team under interim coach Alexander Schmidt on Saturday, playing the final 16 minutes of regulation in a draw at Union Berlin.
After the firing of Reiner Maurer earlier in the week and promotion of Schmidt from the reserves to serve in the interim, indications had been given that Wood would be given another chance with the first team after spending several months in the Regionalliga recovering from long-standing knee problems.
Encouragingly, the American youngster did begin the game on the bench, and was forced to watch as a spectator when Christian Stuff gave Union the lead in the 22nd minute as he headed in a corner from Torsten Mattuschka.
Ageless 1860 star Benjamin Lauth equalized in the 53rd when he struck home a cross from Moritz Stoppelkamp, then gave the team the lead in the 70th minute when he headed in another cross from the former Hannover midfielder.
Wood entered the game in place of Daniel Halfar in the 76th minute for his first appearance with the first team in just over a year, however was forced to endure a disappointing return, as Union striker Adam Nemec latched onto a headed pass from Stuff, putting it away for the 81st-minute equalizer.
The Lions remain in eighth place with the point, and will get back to work on Tuesday when they host Paderborn in the Allianz Arena.
FC St. Pauli 4 - 1 MSV Duisburg
Joseph-Claude Gyau was in St. Pauli's starting lineup on Sunday afternoon, playing just over an hour in the team's blow-out win over visiting Duisburg.
Daniel Ginczek put the hosts ahead after 18 minutes when he put away Christpher Avevor's set-up from the endline at point-blank range.
However Duisburg sent the game into the half on equal terms when Benjamin hit a high ball towards the goal from distance, which was allowed to bounce through the defense and into the net past the shocked keeper.
Gyau left the game after 64 minutes, after which everything went completely wrong for the Zebras.
Fin Bartels gave Pauli the lead one minute later when he slipped free on the right to kick in Christopher Buchtmann's pass out of a crowd, then the Zebras were reduced to ten men almost immediately afterwards as Zvonko Pamić was shown a second yellow card for a careless challenge.
Bartels then stretched the lead to two goals with 16 minutes remaining with a low shot from the left of the area, and Mhir Saglic completed the rout with one minute left in regulation when he was left with far too much space in the center of the penalty area to settle a pass from Dennis Daube and place it to the left side of goal.
Pauli remain in 12th place after the victory, and will return to the field on Wednesday with a visit to 2. Bundesliga leaders Eintracht Braunschweig.
FC Ingolstadt 04 1 - 1 SV Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten was a second-half substitute for Sandhausen on Sunday afternoon, as the team fought back to earn a draw in Ingolstadt.
Having started the season strongly and looking to be one of the teams contesting for the third-place promotion playoff spot, Ingolstadt continued their run by pressing from the start taking an early lead.
In the 19th minute, Stefan Leitl pulled down a long pass in the right flank, and immediately sent a cross towards the far post. The ball went uncleared by the Sandhausen defense and landed at the foot of Christian Eigler, who slammed it home for the lead.
Wooten came on for fellow striker Kingsley Onuegbu midway through the second half in hopes of changing up the attack, and while the American was largely uninvolved, the team did finally break through with eight minutes on the clock.
Desperately searching for any route to an equalizer Simon Tüting fired a long ball from the midfield stripe into Ingolstadt's penalty area, where Nico Klotz controlled it in between two defenders and poked it past the keeper to earn the point for the visitors.
Sandhausen remain rooted at the bottom of the standings after the weekend's round of games, and will have a tough time to make up the points when they take the field on Wednesday against visiting Cottbus.
SV Babelsberg 03 1 - 0 Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor earned himself a short unplanned vacation on Saturday afternoon, picking up a red card in the final seconds of second-half injury time in Münster's loss at Babelsberg.
Babelsberg were handed the lead after 20 minutes when defender Robin Neupert was judged, perhaps harshly, to have pulled down Babelsberg attacker Süleyman Koc as he stormed into the area, with Christian Essig sending the keeper the wrong direction with his successful spot kick.
Münster nearly had the favor returned at the hour mark when Sergej Evljuskin committed an egregious handball in the area, however Babelsberg keeper Frederic Löhe guessed correctly and saved Stefan Kühne's penalty attempt.
As the visitors pushed desperately for an equalizer, Taylor was shown an uncharacteristic red card in the third minute of added after the referee felt he went too far in an altercation with Markus Müller, with the referee putting an end to the proceedings almost immediately afterwards.
Münster still remain in the second of the 3. Liga's two automatic promotion spots despite the loss, and will be forced to play without Taylor on Saturday when they host Wacker Burghausen.
Stuttgarter Kickers 1 - 1 SV Darmstadt 98
Preston Zimmerman played the full game for last-place Darmstadt on Saturday, as they saw what would have been only their fourth win of the season evaporate in the final seconds thanks to a last-gasp equalizer from Stuttgarter Kickers.
Royal-Dominique Fennell missed the game after undergoing surgery during the week, and will not play again until 2013.
After neither team could must any magic for more than an hour, Danny Latza put Darmstadt ahead with 15 minutes remaining when he pounced on an uncleared corner, controlled the ball and hit the target with a rocket of a shot from 15 yards out.
Stuttgart had one final trick up their sleeve, as they pulled even in the final seconds when Marco Grüttner pulled down a short cross at the end of a counter-attack and fired home from the top of the area.
Darmstadt remain in last place, although a win at Unterhaching on Friday evening could feasibly lift them to safety.
Kickers are out of the drop zone only by goal differential, and will be back in action on Saturday when they host Rostock.
Alfredo Morales was not on the bench for Hertha on Sunday as they remained second in the standings with a 4-0 win at Aue.
Jerome Kiesewetter did not take the field for Stuttgart II on Saturday, as they grabbed a 1-0 road win over David Wagner's Dortmund II.