SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, October 28, 2013
It was a mixed bag for Americans in Germany this weekend with Jermaine Jones coming up short, Timothy Chandler grabbing a point with Nürnberg and Alfredo Morales notching a win in the second flight.
Schalke 04 1 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
Jermaine Jones came on in the second half for Schalke, who fell to their bitter rivals Dortmund on Saturday thanks to some clinical finishing and a pacey Armenian.
By the time Jones came on in the 72nd minute, the Schwarzgelb damage was done making the substitution of the defensive-minded Jones ponderous. But that was not the only curious decision by head coach Jens Keller.
With attacking options ranging from slim to none due to injuries (Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan just two convalescing assets up front), Keller also reworked the middle of the pitch, opting for the speed of Dennis Aogo in midfield to slow down Dortmund's pace.
Unfortunately for Keller and Schalke, Aogo's lack of chemistry with Roman Neustädter in his new-found role was evident from the onset as Dortmund controlled the middle of the field.
It was through the middle that Dortmund opened up Schalke for the opener in the 14th minute with a fabulous attacking move that began with Kevin Großkreutz, went through Henrik Mkhitarian and Marco Reus before finding Patrick Aubameyang.
After falling behind, however, Schalke were gifted a controversial penalty with Nevin Subotic adjudged to have fouled his man in the box. Kevin Prince Boateng took the ensuing penalty, but Roman Weidenfeller was up to the challenge and stuffed the spot kick.
Dortmund doubled just minutes into half number two as Mkhitarian scampered down half the pitch sprinting past, around and through all the Royal Blues in his path, before pausing at the Schalke box and picking out Nuri Sahin, who took a touch and blasted past keeper Timo Hildebrand with an spectacular left-footed effort.
Schalke did however show some resolve and cut the lead in half in the 62nd minute through 18-year old Max Meyer's strike, but any thoughts of a comeback were put to rest ten minutes later when Mkhitarian went to work again.
Dortmund's summer signing took on multiple defenders again, beating them all as he raced down the left side of the field to Hildebrand's box, drawing multiple defenders to him and then picking out Jakub Blaszczykowski for the game's final tally.
Jones and Schalke are back in action on Saturday when they travel to the German capital to take on Hertha Berlin.
VfB Stuttgart 1 - 1 FC Nürnberg
Timothy Chandler and Nürnberg picked up a point on Friday versus Stuttgart, as the Franconians are still searching for their elusive first win of the season.
Friday's match marked the debut for new Nürnberg boss Gertjan Verbeek; Chandler went the distance for the Dutchman.
The match could not have found a more tumultuous begin as Romanian midfielder Alexandru Maxim was brought down in the box after just three minutes by Christian Gentner. Vedad Ibisevic stepped up and belted his spot kick right down the middle.
Things were level once again three minutes later as Chandler picked out Josep Drmic with a cutting through ball and the Swiss striker tucked his shot inside the far post from a tight angle with the outside of his right boot.
After the turbulent start, neither team was really able to create clear-cut scoring chances as both side's defensive units were up to the challenge.
With the draw, Chandler and Nürnberg remain third from bottom with seven points, all draws, from ten games. Chandler and Nürnberg are back in action on Saturday when they host Freiburg.
Greuther Fürth 0 - 1 FC Ingolstadt
Alfredo Morales made his first start in over a month and helped Ingolstadt notch an important road victory.
Morales put in 90 minutes of action in his first start since a matchday 8 loss to Frankfurt that saw the American lose his spot in the starting 11.
Ingolstadt grabbed the game's only goal in the ninth minute through Moritz Hartmann, who sent a shot in the box straight at keeper Wolfgang Hesl, but the Fürth keeper took his eye off the ball for a split second and let it slip through his hands and into the back of the net.
The match was a tepid affair with Fürth unable to generate anything offensively and Ingolstadt not wanting to. The game's only other noteworthy moment came late in the second half as Ingolstadt's midfielder Almog Cohen was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle.
Morales and Ingolstadt are back in action on Friday versus Paderborn.
Darmstadt 4 - 0 Preußen Münster
Matt Taylor and Münster were run over by Darmstadt on Saturday as the hosts converted two penalties.
The contest featured the third division's top scoring side in Munster and the top defensive team in Darmstadt and the latter to the former to task.
After a passive start that had little to offer going forward, Darmstadt hit pay dirt with the game's first chance in the 21st minute through Dominik Stroh-Engel.
Stroh-Engel then converted a spot kick in the 53rd minute after Simon Scherder fouled Marco Sailer in the box, before Stroh-Engel pulled off the hat-trick with another penalty in the 84th minute.
Seemingly for good measure, Patrick Kirsch put the ball into his own net in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
Munster and Taylor are back in action on Friday when they host Rostock.
Fabian Johnson missed out on Hoffenheim's 4-1 victory over Hannover. Steve Cherundolo was set to make his comeback on Saturday, but did not have the required player permit to be eligible.
Michael Parkhurts made the bench as Augsburg fell to Leverkusen 2-1.
John Anthony Brooks missed Berlin's near upset of Bayern Munich, which ended by the score of 3-2.
Bobby Wood was an unused substitute for 1860 Munich, who lost to Karlsruhe 2-1.