SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, January 23, 2012
Three Yanks featured in the Bundesliga on Saturday with Danny Williams and Fabian Johnson playing for Hoffenheim, while Steve Cherundolo lined up on the opposite side for Hannover 96.
1899 Hoffenheim 0 - 0 Hannover 96
Daniel Williams and Steve Cherundolo got the call in defense for Hoffenheim and Hannover 96 respectively, while Fabian Johnson came off the bench in the second-half for the home team as both sides split the points in matchday 18 in the Bundesliga.
For the guests from Lower Saxony, Mirko Slomka included captain Cherundolo in the starting 11 for the first time in three games, whereas Williams saw action for the fifth game in a row being called upon to help out as a central defender with the Hoffenheim backline utterly decimated by injuries and illness.
Heavy legs were plain to see as both clubs looked lethargic to start the match, but the guests had a golden opportunity to grab an early lead; Moritz Stoppelkamp tried to get fancy and wasted a chance alone in front of goal in the 6th minute.
The close call appeared to wake up Hoffenheim, who demonstrated more poise on the ball and more intent in attack. Vedad Ibisevic had chances in the 11th and 25th minutes respectively, and tried conning the ref into awarding a penalty in the 19th minute to boot.
With the exception of a Hannover counterattack here and there, it was all Hoffenheim. However, despite the dominance by the home team, no goals were to be had in the first 45.
In the opening phase of the second half Hannover appeared to be ready to play their part and force themselves onto the run of play. Once again it was Stoppelkamp who could have broken the deadlock, but his shots in the 48th and 49th minutes were blocked.
In the 66th minute, Hoffenheim head coach Holger Stanislavki brought on Johnson for Peniel Mlapa.
As the scoreless tie loomed, both teams began making unforced errors as the quality of play began to tailspin. The last chance of the game fell to Johnson, but his shot from about 10 yards out was hit right at Hannover keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, who had no difficulty parrying.
Next week, Hoffenheim has the unenviable task of travelling to Dortmund to take on the reigning champs on Saturday. Hannover hosts Nürnberg on Friday night.
Jermaine Jones missed out on Schalke's 3-1 victory against Stuttgart as he served game one of an eight-game ban.
Timmy Chandler was also suspended for Nürnberg's 2-0 home win against Hertha Berlin after seeing red in Der Club's final match before the winter break. On the other side of the ball, Alfredo Morales was included in new head coach Michael Skibbe's gameday roster, but did not see the field.
David Yelldell made the bench for Leverkusen on Sunday but did not see any action as his team dispatched Mainz 3-2.
Preston Zimmerman will have to keep tweeting to garner any attention since the striker did not make it off the bench as his Darmstadt was victorious in a 4-1 romp versus Sandhausen.
Amaechi Igwe was an unused substitute in Babelsberg's 0-2 defeat to visiting Burghausen.