SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, February 20, 2012
A quartet of Americans saw action in Germany, with Timmy Chandler, Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson helping their teams earn points, while Matt Taylor scored his second goal of the season.
FC Nürnberg 2 - 1 FC Cologne
Timothy Chandler and Nuremberg got a big victory in their fight for top-flight survival, as a late goal by Czech striker Tomas Pekhart was the difference.
For the second straight week, Chandler assumed an advanced-attacking role on the right wing in coach Dieter Hecking's starting 11.
The home team broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when the visitors failed to deal with a corner. The ball eventually landed for Chandler, whose shot from just outside the box was blocked, but only as far as Alexander Esswein, who rocketed a right-footed shot inside the far post for the lead.
Cologne fired back, though, notching the equalizer in the 66th minute. Milivoje Novakovic was a half-step quicker to the ball than keeper Schäffer, and got enough on the ball to eek it across the line.
The guests were then content to defend the point and invested little in attack. Hecking decided to go for the win bringing on a second pure striker in Christian Eigler for Chandler in the 82nd minute.
The decision to push more numbers forward paid off just four minutes from time, as Nuremberg goal-scorer Esswein turned set-up man, rapping in a cross from the left to Pekhart, whose glancing header bounded past Cologne goalie Michael Rensing for the game's final 2-1 scoreline.
The victory leaves Nürnberg with 25 points and in 12th place, but only three points above the drop zone. Chandler and co. are back in action on Saturday as they travel to Bremen.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 1 - 1 FSV Mainz 05
Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams both started for Hoffenheim, but had to settle for a point against Mainz on Friday night as they failed to hold onto an early lead for the second straight week.
Head coach Markus Babbel named the American duo to the starting lineup once again, as the new skipper made his debut in front of the home fans.
Just like in their match last week against Bremen, Hoffenheim had a dream start to the match.
Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino played a cutting pass to Boris Vukcevic, who whipped in a cross looking for Srdjan Lakic. Before the cross could reach its target, Mainz defender Niko Noveski inadvertently redirected the ball past his own keeper to give the home team the lead.
But also like last week, Hoffenheim could not hold onto the lead.
In the 29th minute, Mainz winter acquisition Mohammed Zidan struck for the third time in as many games as the Egyptian timed his run well to pounce on Radoslav Zabavnik's cross and guide it into the back of the net.
As fulminant as the game began, the level of play nosedived just as suddenly as both teams began committing turnovers en masse.
Mainz was content to sit back and defend, while making forays forward on the counterattack. Hoffenheim has the lion's share of possession, but could generate little save a couple of half chances.
Hoffenheim did, however, have an excellent chance to grab a late winner, but Lakic's deflection of Marvin Compper's shot skidded just wide of the target.
Hoffenheim travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday to take on VfL.
SC Paderborn 2 - 2 Dynamo Dresden
Matt Taylor came on late and grabbed a late equalizer at home against Dresden to help Paderborn stay in contention for promotion to the German top-flight.
Taylor, who has not seen any significant action since November, started the match on the bench as head coach Roger Schmidt stuck with regular starter Sören Brandy.
Paderborn got off to a great start, needing only three minutes to get on the board as Jens Wemmer toe-poked the ball past Dresden keeper Wolfgang Hesl.
Dresden pulled even in the 18th minute after Zlatko Dedic was brought down in the box by Paderborn center back Florian Mohr. Dedic took the ensuing penalty and converted, sending Lukas Kruse the wrong way.
Dresden took a late lead in the 80th minute, and it was Dedic doing the damage once more putting home a rebound after Kruse could not corral Mickael Poté's low, well-struck shot.
With time running out, Schmidt brought Taylor on a minute later.
Taylor repaid his coach for the opportunity, as he headed home an equalizer in the waning moments of the match to secure his team a point.
Paderborn now has 43 points, just four off the pace set by league leaders Eintracht Frankfurt, who come to town on Sunday to do battle with Taylor and Co.
Steve Cherundolo was not named to the roster for Hannover's victory over Stuttgart due to a reported calf injury.
Alfredo Morales is training with the US U-23 team, missing Berlin's 1-0 loss to leaders Borussia Dortmund.
David Yelldell was an unused sub for Leverkusen's 4-1 win over Augsburg.
Jermaine Jones missed Schalke's 4-0 demolishing of VfL Wolfburg due to suspension.
Both Amaechi Igwe and Preston Zimmerman saw their respective matches called off due to unsafe field conditions as a result of the winter weather that swept through Germany a week ago. No makeup dates have been announced.