DAVID SMITH - Sunday, December 11, 2011
Jermaine Jones and Schalke moved into the Bundesliga's top three thanks to their win in Berlin while Fabian Johnson's two assists helped trigger Hoffenheim's win over ten-man Nürnberg.
Hertha Berlin 1 - 2 FC Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones returned to Schalke's starting lineup on Friday evening, doing his part to lock down the midfield in their road win over Hertha Berlin.
Hertha midfielder Alfredo Morales did not suit up for the hosts.
Johnson was returning after sitting out Schalke's 3-1 win over Augsburg last weekend on yellow card suspension, and he took a first step towards yet another day off by drawing his sixth booking of the season in the second half.
Hertha were somewhat unlucky to concede the opening goal in the 19th minute, after Roman Hubnik's poor clearance of a cross by Christian Fuchs landed directly at the foot of Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar for an easy 1-0.
They quickly recovered and pulled even in the 25th minute when a corner from Raffael was headed in by Colombian striker Adrian Ramos.
Schalke secured the win just moments before the halftime whistle, as Spanish legend Raul advanced the ball towards the penalty area before finding Teemu Pukki at the upper left corner for a curling shot towards the far upper corner that was well out of Thomas Kraft's reach.
The win pushes Schalke past local rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach into the Bundesliga's third-place spot, leaving them trailing mortal enemies Dortmund by goal differential, and league leaders FC Bayern by three points.
They will host the mighty fifth-place team Werder Bremen in the Veltins Arena on Saturday evening to close their 2011 schedule, in a game vital to the Champions League aspirations of both teams.
Three days before, they will travel to Israel for their final Europa League group J game against Maccabi Haifa, however as they have already won the group, it is doubtful that a full-strength squad will make the trip.
FC Nürnberg 0 - 2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
A slew of yanks too the field on Saturday in the Frankenstadion, as ten-man FC Nürnberg fell to Hoffenheim in a frustrating shut-out loss.
Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson both started for their respective teams, however Chandler had a short afternoon as he was shown a straight red card just before the half for a tackle on Sejad Salihovic.
Johnson earned the first of his two assists of the game when his cross was headed in by former St. Louis University striker Vedad Ibiević in the 39th minute, then the two linked up again in the 55th when the Bosnian international put away a through-ball from his American teammate.
Daniel Williams played the final 25 minutes of the game in place of injured midfielder Sebastian Rudy.
Details are given in a Yanks Abroad Press Box Report.
Neither Steve Cherundolo nor David Yelldell made it off the bench for their respective teams on Saturday as Hannover 96 and Bayer Leverkusen played to a scoreless draw in Hannover's AWD-Arena.
Terrence Boyd did not suit up for Borussia Dortmund's first team on Saturday in their 1-1 draw at home against FC Kaiserslautern, instead starting and scoring a goal for their U23 team in Regionalliga play in a 3-0 win over Bochum's U23s.
Bobby Wood is recovering from knee surgery and was not in uniform on Friday afternoon as 1860 Munich beat Eintracht Braunschweig in the Allianz Arena by a 3-0 scoreline.
Luis Robles resumed his place on the Karlsruhe bench on Friday afternoon as usual starter Dirk Orlishausen finally returned from injury. This did little to help the team's fortunes, as they still came out 3-1 losers on their trip to Duisburg.
Matt Taylor was a last-minute substitute for Paderborn on Friday afternoon in their 2-0 victory at home against Hansa Rostock.
Edson Buddle was a last-minute scratch from the Ingolstadt roster on Sunday as they scored a last-second 1-0 win over St. Pauli, a result which lifted them from the league's cellar and into the 16th-place relegation playoff spot.
Ricardo Clark has not sniffed the bench for Frankfurt in several months, and will not be included on Monday evening when the team hosts Greuther Fürth in a clash between promotion hopefuls.
Amaechi Igwe was a last-minute substitute for Babelsberg on Saturday in their 3-2 road win over Rot-Weiß Erfurt.
Preston Zimmerman is suffering from a reported stomach virus and did not take part on Sunday in Darmstadt's 1-2 home loss to VfR Aalen.