SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, May 5, 2014
Three Americans played and three were on the losing end in the Bundesliga, but it was Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg's defeat that could spell disaster.
FC Nuremberg 0 - 2 Hannover
Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg are falling fast towards direct relegation after a listless performance versus Hannover on Saturday.
Chandler, who put in 90 minutes and was one of the few Franconians displaying the grit necessary to succeed in a relegation scrap, picked up his fifth caution of the season and will miss Nuremberg's season finale.
Exacerbating matters further is that Chandler is not alone: three-fourths of the starting defense will be suspended next week after both Marvin Plattenhardt and Javier Pinola picked up their fifth yellow each.
Hannover completely gutted the sell-out crowd in the fifth minute - and broke Nuremberg's already fragile morale - with a strike by Szabolcs Hustzi. The Hungarian finished off a quick counter attack with a clinical finish after Nurmeberg showed nerves and lost the ball in midfield to open the door to Hannover.
The guests from Lower Saxony, who had nothing to play for but pride and professionalism, finished off a combination excellent performance/woeful Nuremberg display with a second goal in the 51st minute through Manuel Schmiedebach; it was the German's first goal in 120 Bundesliga contests.
Nuremberg has one final chance to reach the relegation playoff spot next week, but will have to win at Schalke and hope that Hamburg does not win versus Mainz.
Borussia Dortmund 3 - 2 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim were up for their clash versus BVB but fell to a three-goal barrage within five first-half minutes.
Johnson started at right back, where he was his typical solid self; he played all 90 minutes.
Hoffenheim took the lead in the fifth through Roberto Firmino, who took advantage of a communication breakdown between Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer.
It took a while for Dortmund to wake up, but they did in a fury.
In the 29th minute, German international and Dortmund boy Kevin Großkreutz collected outside the area, took a touch and let fire from 23 yards out. His well-struck shot curled inside the far post to equalize.
Two minutes later, Marco Reus lofted a cross into the pass of the on-rushing Henrick Mkhitaryan, who connected on a diving header for the lead.
The BVB onslaught was complete in the 34th minute, as Lukasz Piszczek found the back of the net with his right after taking full advantage of the chaos and confusion that ensued in the Hoffenheim defensive ranks on a Reus free kick.
BVB, more specifically Roman Weidenfeller, did throw Hoffenheim a lifeline to make things interesting, as the German goalie leaked in Niklas Süle's long-range effort five-hole.
Despite the free-flowing, attacking soccer from both side, the game ended 3-2.
Hoffenheim and Johnson take on relegation threatened Braunschweig to end the season.
Werder Bremen 2 - 0 Hertha Berlin
John Anthony Brooks made his third start in a row for Berlin, who were shutout by Bremen on Saturday.
Brooks played the entire 90 minutes in central defense.
Aaron Hunt was the star of the afternoon. He played his final match in the green and white, and went out with a bang, netting a brace.
The German striker opened the scoring in the 48th minute by finishing of a give-and-go with Franco di Santo, before he closed his Bremen account with a thunderous left-footed shot from the edge of the box that left keeper Kraft with no chance.
Berlin and Brooks close out the Bundesliga campaign next week with a home match versus Dortmund.
Arminia Bielefeld 0 - 0 FSV Frankfurt
Andrew Wooten and Frankfurt played to a scoreless draw versus Bielefeld on Sunday, enough to ensure second-division for the Hessians next year.
After a nice run of form, which saw the American score three times in as many games, Wooten was handed another start, putting in 90 minutes of work.
The match offered little attacking soccer, and few chances. Optimistic shots from distance and off-target crosses were the extent of the offensive forays.
In fact, the match's only excellent chance fell to Kacper Przybylko in the 83rd minute, but the midfielder was stuffed from two yards out by keeper Patrick Klandt, before skying the ensuing rebound over the bar.
Wooten and Frankfurt close out the season by hosting second-division champs Cologne.
Matt Taylor came on late in the second half as Munster fell to Halle 3-2.