SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, March 26, 2012
Jermaine Jones, Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson were victorious, while Steve Cherundolo and Timothy Chandler came up short in Bundesliga action.
Schalke 04 2 - 0 Bayer Leverkusen
Jermaine Jones marshalled the Schalke midfield on Saturday evening, as the Königsblauen dropped Bayer Leverkusen thanks to two goals by red-hot striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Jones and Schalke came into the match well aware of its importance regarding their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Schalke was the better of the two teams in the beginning, creating chances through Julian Draxler, Lewis Holtby and Jones in the 6th, 10th and 12th minutes respectively. In the 18th, however, Huntelaar profited from Christian Fuchs pinpoint cross to head past Bernd Leno for his 21st goal of the season.
In the immediate aftermath of conceding, Leverkusen looked completely out of sorts and had Schalke been more clinical with its finishing, the game could have been decided early on.
Leverkusen first started getting their attack going in the second half with Simon Rolfes and André Schürrle coming close, yet failing to equalize in the end.
Schalke let Leverkusen hang around by squandering a slew of chances, until the 86th minute, when Huntelaar made no mistake in converting Jefferson Farfan's cross, scoring on a well-placed header.
David Yelldell made the bench as Leno's backup, but did not see any action.
Jones and Schalke will face Hoffenheim on Sunday in the Bundesliga, after they host Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinal of the Europa League on Thursday.
FC Bayern Munich 2 - 1 Hannover 96
For in-depth coverage of Steve Cheundolo and Hannover's match against Bayern, please see David Smith's Press Box Report.
FC Nürnberg 0 - 1 VfB Stuttgart
Timothy Chandler went the distance for Nuremberg, but the Franconians fell to Stuttgart, who displayed their effectiveness in front of goal.
Chandler and Nuremberg only have themselves to blame as the hosts wasted a ton of chances in a match that they otherwise dominated to lose their third in a row.
Chandler should have garnered an assist in the 7th minute, but Adam Hlousek was denied by the crossbar. A minute later Chandler almost found Markus Feulner with a slick chipped cross, but the Stuttgart's Julian Schieber cleared at the very last second.
Stuttgart's keeper Sven Ulreich then kept the game scoreless by parrying Daniel Didavi's left-footed shot that was on its way into the back of the net in the 43rd minute.
The second half was nearly a replay of the first with Nuremberg dominating, but failing to use their chances.
Timmy Simons slammed his header against the side netting in the 58th, while Chandler hit the post in the 60th with a header of his own.
Stuttgart then capitalized on one of the few chances that it managed against Der Club, as German striker Cacau took a feed from Tomas Hajnal in the box and deftly beat Nuremberg keeper Rafael Schäffer with a low shot from 15 yards out in the 78th minute.
Nuremberg failed to generate any real scoring chances in the final 10 minutes and change, as Stuttgart got a fortunate victory.
Up next for Chandler and Nuremberg is a home match against FC Bayern.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1 - 2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson both saw significant action as Hoffenheim came from behind late to knock off Borussia Mönchengladbach on the road.
Williams and Johnson were both included included in the starting 11 for head coach Markus Babel, with the former putting in 60 minutes and the latter going the distance.
The match got off to a slow start with Hoffenheim wary of the Gladbach threat, while Gladbach was visibly fatigued after playing 120 minutes on Wednesday in the German Cup against Bayern Munich.
Gladbach's star Marco Reus nearly scored in the 37th minute, but just pushed his shot wide.
A minute later, however, Reus did much better, using a feed from Patrick Hermann to beat Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke with a one-timed, right-footed shot.
After 60 minutes, Babbel brought on Firmino for Williams to add a spark to the Hoffenheim offense.
Some 15 minutes later, Babbel's ploy worked.
In the 77th minute, the ball landed at Firmino's feet, who then proceeded to juke out Tony Jantschke before firing past Marc Andre Ter Stegen to make it 1-1.
Just two minutes later, Hoffenheim completed the comeback as Boris Vukcevic headed home a corner to the near post to make it 2-1.
Gladbach could not find a late equalizer and Hoffenheim emerged victorious.
This coming Sunday Hoffenheim plays host to Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04.
Kickers Offenbach 1 - 1 SV Darmstadt 98
Preston Zimmerman went the distance for Darmstadt as they held on for a point against Offenbach.
Zimmerman made his third start in a row for Darmstadt's Hessian derby on Saturday.
The guests took the lead thanks to an own goal in the 39th minute, as Zimmerman ripped a shot from 17 yards out that Robert Wulnikowski spilled. The ball came back to Zimmerman, who tried again, this time Marc Stein deflected the American's shot into his own goal.
In the 55th minute, Kai Hesse was completely unmarked in the area and had no trouble heading Andre Hahn's cross past Darmstadt keeper Jan Zimmermann to equalize.
Darmstadt was then reduced to 10 men after Mattias Heckenberger was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle in the 73rd minute.
Offenbach pushed for a late winner, but Darmstadt's defense held up under the pressure.
Darmstadt is back in action on Wednesday as they take on Erfurt in a make-up game.
Andrew Wooten did not play for Kaiserslautern as the Roten Teufel lost yet again, this time falling to Freiburg. Kaiserslautern is now 6 points adrift of safety.
Alfredo Morales did not dress for Hertha Berlin's 3-1 victory away at Mainz.
Matt Taylor put in 20 minutes of work on Sunday as Paderborn was upset at home, losing to bottom club Duisburg 2-1.
Villyan Bijev was named to Düsseldorf's gameday roster for the first time, as Düsseldorf tied Eintracht Braunschweig 1-1.
Bobby Wood was on 1860's bench Friday afternoon for their 1-0 road win at Dynamo Dresden, however was not called into action.