RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
Steve Cherundolo did his part to push Hannover to their second straight win while Michael Bradley and the Foals continued their poor run with an embarrassing loss at home to Wolfsburg.
Hannover 96 2 - 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Steve Cherundolo once again played a substitute role for Hannover as the returns from injury, seeing the field for most of the second half and having a helping hand in the team's winning goal as they notched up their second straight win over visiting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
The Reds had just broken their long losing streak with last weekend's win over Freiburg, and showed they had fully retained their momentum in creating a pair of chances within the opening moments and eventually taking the lead just before the quarter-hour mark.
A towering cross from the right flank by momentary Cherundolo-replacement Manuel Schmiedebach was chested down by Didier Ya Konan, with Danish midfielder Leon Andreasen in perfect position to put the ball away for the 1-0 Hannover lead.
They were unfortunate to allow Frankfurt to draw even in the final moments of first-half injury time; Pirmin Schwegler sent a long ball into Hannover's area which Halil Altintop, who had broken free from a trio of Reds defenders, had no problems to poke past Florian Fromlowitz for the equalizer.
The game was quickly turned on its head less than ten minutes after the interval, as Constant Djakpa went down with injury, and, as he was on the sidelines receiving injury, Frankfurt midfielder Selim Teber saw his second yellow for an intentional handball suddenly handing Hannover the surprise man-advantage for the final 35 minutes.
Cherundolo took the field for the injured Ivorian in the 55th minute and had a nearly immediate impact, gathering a deflected save by Frankfurt keeper Oka Nikolov off of a shot from Elson, then tapping it over as falling to the ground to Sergio Pinto, whose shot from the edge of the six-yard box restored Hannover's lead.
Cherundolo received a yellow card, his sixth of the season, in the game's dying moments, just seconds before Frankfurt's Maik Franz saw his second of the game, forcing the visitors to play the final seconds with nine men.
Ricardo Clark was included on Frankfurt's bench but was not called upon by coach Michael Skibbe and is still awaiting his league debut.
Hannover still remain in the 16th-place relegation playoff spot despite the win, but will have a chance to peek their heads above the surface when they visit Stuttgart on Saturday.
Clark will have to wait one week longer for his possible Bundesliga debut, which could come on Saturday when Frankfurt host league leaders Bayern.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 0 - 4 VfL Wolfsburg
A Michael Bradley handball led to Wolfsburg's second goal against the Foals, however it ended up just one pebble on the pile as Gladbach were blown out of their own stadium on Saturday.
The Foals held their own for most of the first half, but the reigning champions eventually proved too much as Bosnian playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic blasted from 19 yards out in the 41st minute to put Wolfsburg ahead.
The game fell apart quickly for the Foals after the break, as a handball call on Bradley in the area in the 49th minute led to a Edin Dzeko doubling Wolfsburg's lead from the spot, then an 18-yarder from Christian Gentner following a Misimovic free kick nine minutes later gave Gladbach a three-goal deficit.
The drubbing was completed with ten minutes left to play, as Dzeko was sent free by Misimovic, then outsmarted two Gladbach defenders before beating Logan Bailly for the team's fourth and final goal.
The Foals remain in 12th place despite suffering their fourth straight without a win, and will have a chance to turn things around when visiting Cologne on Friday evening.
FC Bayern 2 - 1 SC Freiburg
Daniel Williams returned to the field as a late second-half substitute on Saturday, as Freiburg made league leaders Bayern work for their eventual victory.
Freiburg has seen the wheels fall off over the last three-plus months, failing to win since November while falling to the automatic relegation spots.
While a visit to Bayern's Allianz Arena was perhaps the a poor opportunity to try to turn things around, they gave themselves hope after taking the shock lead in the 31st minute.
Some loose defending by the Bavarians allowed Yacine Abdessadki with ample space and time to drop a pass just outside the area to the onrushingCedric Makiadi, with the Congolese midfielder right in step to put the visitors ahead with his 18-yard shot.
The plucky Frieburgers fought to hang on to the lead and looked as though they could steal an unprecedented result until they were undone in the games final 15 minutes.
Just moments after Abdessadki cleared a leaping header from Olic off the line to keep Freiburg in the lead in the 74th minute, Williams entered the game in an effort by coach Robin Dutt to batten down the hatches only to see the Bavarians win free kick on the edge of the penalty area thanks to an unfortunate handball call on Heiko Butscher.
Arjen Robben then brought Bayern even on the resulting free kick with his ninth goal of the season, just inside the left goalpost.
The Bavarians kept the pressure on and were rewarded seven minutes from full time as Ivica Banovic brought down Thomas Müller in the penalty area, resulting in yellow for the Croatian and a penalty to the hosts.
Robben stepped up to the spot and netted his tenth goal of the season, sending his shot to the left of the diving Simon Pouplin to assure the three points for his team.
The loss leaves Freiburg in the automatic relegation zone, four points from safety and lacking a win since late-November. They will hope to snap their long streak and give any sign of turning things around when they host Mainz on Saturday.
Rot Weiss Ahlen 0 - 2 TuS Koblenz
David Yelldell helped Koblenz get back on track, keeping Ahlen from finding the back of the net as the team pulled themselves out of the league's bottom spot on Friday.
With the two teams fighting it out to avoid the league's cellar, it took most of the first half of play on Ahlen's torn-up field before Koblenz finally created the opener seemingly out of nowhere.
A looping 33-yard shot from well outside the area by Emmanuel Krontiris left Ahlen keeper Sascha Kirschstein confounded, with the former Hamburg starter watching as the ball fell just inside the left goalpost for the 42nd-minute Koblenz lead.
Ahlen kept the game tight in hopes of finding an equalizer, but generally sloppy play in muddy conditions kept either team from buliding any solid momentum.
Kirschstein joined the Ahlen front line for a set piece in the final seconds of the game, but this move proved fatal as Christian Müller and Andreas Glockner teamed up on Koblenz's subsequent counter-attack, with Glockner poking the ball into the empty net for the 2-0 scoreline.
The win momentarily takes Koblenz above Ahlen on goal differential, still five points from safety but with a glimmer of hope in pulling off a miracle in their final eight games. They will first have to deal with visiting Fürth on Friday, who have struggled in front of goal as of late but still are undefeated over their last four games.
Jermaine Jones continues to recover from a leg injury and did not take part in Schalke's 2-1 win over Stuttgart on Friday, a win which keeps them hot on the heels of Bayern for the league title.
Jared Jeffrey continued to work with Mainz's U23 team in Regionalliga play and did not suit up for the first team's 1-0 home in over Cologne on Saturday.
Luis Robles watched from the bench as Kaiserslautern easily handled visiting Cottbus with a big 4-1 win on Sunday to stretch their lead at the top of the standings to seven points.
Matt Taylor did not dress for Frankfurt's 2-0 win over fourth-place Fortuna Düsseldorf, as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games and now sit on the edge of the relegation zone.