DAVID SMITH - Monday, April 26, 2010
Ricardo Clark made his debut for Frankfurt as they were forced to settle for a point in Mainz while Michael Bradley and the Foals did their part to ensure the title race will go down to the wire.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 1 FC Bayern
Michael Bradley and his Borussia Mönchengladbach teammates were unable to hold on to a lead against Bayern on Saturday, however a draw with the hopeful German champions assured a tight run-in for the league's final weeks.
Gladbach kept the pressure on the Bavarians in the opening stages, with Marco Reus firing just wide from the edge of the area after nine minutes and the team looking dangerous on counter-attacks throughout the first half.
Bastian Schweinsteiger's apparent opener three minutes after the intermission was called back for offside, and the hosts didn't wait long before putting one into the net on the other side of the field.
Bradley teamed up with Raul Bobadilla on the counter-attack, who sent a perfectly-place diagonal ball into the path of Reus for his direct one-timed shot into Bayern's net for the 1-0 lead on the hour mark.
This only lasted for 13 minutes, as German international teammates Phillipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose hooked up in the 73rd minute, with the diminutive defender firing a long cross from the right flank into the box which Klose effortlessly headed into the left side of Logan Bailly's goal, securing a share of the points for each team.
The Foals stay in 12th place with the draw, and will next face a Hannover team on Saturday desperate to claw their way out of the relegation zone.
Bayer Leverkusen 3 - 0 Hannover 96
Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover for his 85 minutes on the field Saturday, however a loss against Leverkusen moved the team one step closer to the drop.
Hannover came into the game locked in the midst of a tight four-team battle for the final two non-relegation spots, and did themselves no favors by providing their hosts with a fairly straightforward win.
Leverkusen took the lead in the 25th minute when Stefan Kießling ran onto a through ball from Michal Kadlec ahead of an outstretched Hannover defender and one-timed it into the net, then doubled the lead in the 64th minute as Burak Kaplan was on-target from the right edge of Hannover's area to beat keeper Florian Fromlowitz.
Cherundolo was subbed off with five minutes remaining in favor of the attack-minded Jan Schlaudraff, but coach Mirki Slomka's gamble backfired as Mario Eggimann tripped up Toni Kroos in the area with two minutes in regulation, allowing Kießling to seal it from the spot with his second of the afternoon.
Even with the loss, Hannover have a chance at survival; while sitting in an automatic relegation spot in 17th, they trail both Bochum and Nürnberg by a single point, and could feasibly pull into outright safety on Saturday should they find a way to win at home over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
FSV Mainz 05 3 - 3 Eintracht Frankfurt
Ricardo Clark finally made his debut for Eintracht Frankfurt, going the distance in central midfield as they earned a point in a goalfest in Mainz.
Frankfurt jumped out to a formidable lead in the first 20 minutes, as Ümit Korkmaz set up Alexander Meier for a 14-yard shot in the 13th minute, then Meier intercepted a poor pass from Mainz defender Nikolce Noveski seven minutes later and made no mistake with his shot for the 2-0 lead.
Mainz sent the game into the half as a tight affair as Aristide Bance sent a 30-yard free kick over the Frankfurt wall just before the break, then kept the momentum afterwards when Jan Simak was on-target with a sliding shot in the area.
Frankfurt re-took the advantage five minutes later when Korkmaz picked up a loose ball and was allowed too much room to advance on goal before hitting his shot to the lower right.
However Mainz would have the last laugh, as Bance rose above Clark with four minutes remaining to head in the tying goal, sending each team to the locker room with a hard-fought point.
Jared Jeffrey Jeffrey did not suit up for Mainz, who remain in tenth place and will visit Stuttgart on Saturday, while Frankfurt stay in ninth and will next host Hoffenheim.
Jermaine Jones did not participate as Schalke pulled even on points with Bayern in the title race thanks to their 1-0 win at last-place Hertha on Saturday. Schalke still need the Bavarians to slip up in the final two weeks of the season as they have a vastly inferior goal differential.
Daniel Williams was not included on the bench for Freiburg's 1-0 win at home over Wolfsburg on Sunday.
David Yelldell is out with an ankle injury for the remainder of the season, and did not suit up as the team moved ever closer to relegation with their crushing 6-1 loss at St. Pauli on Friday.
Luis Robles watched from the bench on Friday as Kaiserslautern fell at home by a 1-0 score to Hansa Rostock. With automatic promotion now assured, the Red Devils still hold a four-point lead in the 2. Bundesliga over St. Pauli, and can wrap up the title should they win at Koblenz on Sunday.
Matt Taylor did not suit up for FSV Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with third-place Augsburg on Sunday afternoon, a result that secured automatic promotion for Kaiserslautern.