SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, August 8, 2011
The Bundesliga's top flight got underway this weekend, with Timmy Chandler and Nürnberg starting the season with a win, while Jermaine Jones and Schalke had an afternoon to forget.
VfB Stuttgart 3 - 0 Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones started in defensive midfield and played the full 90 for Schalke, but Stuttgart christened the newly renovated Mercedes-Benz Arena in style with a convincing win.
Ralf Rangnick opted to make two changes to the starting 11, sending Ralf Fährmann between the posts and surprising everyone by starting want-away Jones for wunderkind Julian Draxler.
Nerves were on display early in the match with both sides losing the ball frequently, but making up for it with defensive tenacity. Cacau had the game's first chance, which he made a mess of, whiffing on his shot in the 14th.
After Schalke failed to capitalize on a couple of chances on free kicks, the home side took the lead as Stuttgart's midfield maestro Hajnal curled his corner onto Maza in the 37th; the Brazialian-born German nodded past Fährmann from point blank.
Rangnick decided to bring Draxler for midfielder Joel Matip at the break to heighten Schalke's offense. Schalke did have a promising start as the Königsblauen looked determined to equalize in the opening minutes, as their passing was crisper and their runs sharper. However, in the 56th Schalke's defense conceded their second of the afternoon.
Left full back Molinaro crossed into the box and Austrian striker Martin Harnik sprinted past two ball-watching defenders to head home.
Schalke continued to have more of the ball, but it was Stuttgart with the chances and the scoring touch. Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki gave the home fans one more in the 89th, as he fired in a sweet shot from just outside the box for the game's 3-0 final score.
Schalke will be looking to take all three points in their home opener next weekend against Cologne on Saturday.
Hertha Berlin 0 - 1 FC Nürnberg
Timmy Chandler put in a full day's work on day one, as Nürnberg got off to a successful start in the 1. Bundesliga narrowly defeating newly promoted Berlin, while fellow American Alfredo Morales was an unused substitute for the hosts.
Dieter Hecking and his boys had a tricky opening match on Sunday going to the German capital to face Hertha in the impressive Olympic Stadium and as a result, Nürnberg came out cautious and tentative in their build-ups.
Although Berlin was visibly nervous, Nürnberg could not put anything together save a couple of optimistic shots from distance. Over the first 45 minutes, there were as many yellow cards, two, as there were shots.
It was not until the 58th minute that a save had to be made, as Berlin keeper Thomas Kraft got down quickly to his right to stop Markus Feulner's hard low shot.
Substitutes Jens Hegeler and Tomas Pekhart combined nicely in the 80th minute to give the game a winner. The lanky German Hegeler took a throw-in in the box and shielded the ball from defender Franz, before quickly turning and just keeping the ball in play to cross low for a streaking Pekhart, who beat Kraft to his near post.
Hertha tried to push for an equalizer, but to no avail.
The road victory will surely give Nürnberg's young side a jolt of confidence for the new season. Next week, Chandler and the boys host Hannover 96 on Saturday.
Union Berlin 3 - 0 SC Paderborn
Matt Taylor was included in the starting 11, but the striker was unable to make an impact with his team falling to Berlin on Friday in the 2. Bundesliga.
Coming into the game Taylor had been on fire, scoring an equalizer in the last league contest and a hat-trick in last week's German Cup. His scintillating play made it a no-brainer for coach Roger Schmidt to hand the American his first league start of the year.
Although the host were winless before the contest - mustering a meager point from the opening two games - they came out with belief and vigor, and struck early.
In the fifth minute, Berlin defender Christian Stuff took advantage of some shoddy marking to ram home a corner with his noggin. After going ahead, Berlin was more interested in managing the came than seeking a second in a very physical first 45 minutes.
After the break, both sides continued their nervous play, and neither could seem to string together more than two passes in succession.
However, Berlin bagged a second in the 64th, as Christopher Quiring got onto a long ball and after dancing around keeper Kruse, who came off his line, knocked the ball into an unguarded net. Just 120 seconds later, Quirling was Johnny on the spot to mop up after Silvio's shot was spilled by Paderborn keeper Kruse. Taylor's frustrating day came to a close in the 69th as coach Schmidt brought on Meha in attack.
Taylor will be hoping to regain his goal scoring acumen for next week's home tie against Greuther Fürth.
Wacker Burghausen 1 - 1 SV Babelsberg
Amaechi Igwe got his third start in a row for Babelsberg as they shared the spoils of the day with the hosts.
The match started slowly, with neither team looking to risk too much in pursuit of an opener. The game's first real chance also brought the game's first goal.
Burghausen's Nicky Adler was able to break through Babelsberg's defense to slot home past Unger in the 32nd. After falling behind, Babelsberg displayed more offensive moxie, but were ultimately unable to equalize before the break.
The guests from Babelsberg continued were they left off in the first half: trailing and pressuring the opposition. Their hard work bore fruit in the 60th minute, as keeper Vollath showed how not to protect the ball in the box, giving it away to Markus Müller, who said thank you very much and tapped in the equalizer.
The hosts had a chance to win the match in the 74th minute, but Youssef Mokhtari fired his penalty to the left of goal. The draw leaves Babelsberg with an encouraging five points from three games.
Next week, Igwe and Babelsberg host FC Saarbrücken on Saturday.
Head coach Mirko Slomka surprisingly left Steve Cherundolo on the bench, as Hannover 96 took care of TSG Hoffenheim 2-1.
Daniel Williams was omitted from the SC Freiburg squad that drew with Bundesliga newbies Augsburg on Saturday.
Ricardo Clark was not included in the roster for Eintracht Frankfurt's 3-0 victory over Braunschweig on Sunday.
Edson Buddle was a late substitute in Ingolstadt's 4-1 loss at the hands of Fortuna Düsseldorf in Friday 2. Bundesliga action.
Luis Robles assumed his usual role of moral supporter on Sunday as his KSC took care of Erzgebirge Aue 2-0.
Preston Zimmermann could not get off the bench as SV Darmstadt fell to Sandhausen 2-0 away.