RECAP: WEEKEND GERMAN ACTION
It was a mixed bag for Americans in the German top flight on matchday 16, as three lost, two won and one was shown a straight red.
Hamburger SV 2 - 0 1899 Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams both started for Hoffenheim, who continued to struggle falling to the Hamburger SV Friday night.
After a depressing first half of the campaign, Hoffenheim made a coaching switch last week, relieving Markus Babbel of his duties and replacing him with interim boss Frank Kramer. Kramer started both Johnson and Williams, with the former going the distance and the latter 66 minutes.
Hoffenheim started the game well enough, looking dangerous when pressing forward. That all changed, however, after conceding in the 27th minute.
Midfielder Dennis Diekmeier sent in a cross to the edge of the area, where Latvian striker Artoms Rudnevs was lurking unmarked. His bloop header straight at goal was enough to beat back-up keeper Koen Casteels, who was a good six feet of his line.
After that, Hoffenheim became stagnant in their movement and predicable in attack, while the hosts retained possession and posed the occasional threat.
Korean striker Heung-Min Son nearly made it 2-0 for Hamburg, but, after slipping past the defense, his powerful effort was struck just over the crossbar in the 32nd minute.
Rudnevs added an insurance goal, his second of the match, in the 74th minute, volleying home a rebound into the upper right corner.
The loss was Hoffenheim's fifth in a row and tenth of the season. It won't be any easier for Hoffenheim in their final match before the break, as reigning champions Dortmund come to town on Sunday.
VfB Stuttgart 3 - 1 Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones and Schalke had a day to forget extending their domestic winless streak to five as they fell to Stuttgart on Saturday.
Jones started for embattled head coach Huub Stevens and went 76 minutes, before being sent off for a two-footed challenge late in the second half.
Stuttgart opened up the scoring after just 120 seconds had elapsed, as Vedad Ibisevic latched onto Ibrahima Traore's cross and furiously fired home from close range.
Schalke grabbed an equalizer in the 12th minute when Jones picked out Cipran Marica with a deft, left-footed cross from the edge of the box, which the Romanian striker converted with his left.
The hosts retook the lead on the 38th on an Ibisevic penalty conversion after Christian Fuchs felled Christian Gentner in the box.
Ibisevic completed the hattrick in the 61st minute when Rafael Holzhauser's effort was spilled by Schalke keeper Timo Hildebrand into the path of the onrushing Bosnian.
In the 67th minute, Stuttgart's Japanese defender Gotoku Sakai was sent off for a bad challenge on Lewis Holtby. Six minutes later, Jones was sent to the showers prematurely for what referee Felix Zwayer deemed a bad challenge. Despite replays showing minimal contact, Jones did slide recklessly into Traore from behind.
Jones and Schalke take on Freiburg on Saturday in front of their home fans.
FC Nürnberg 2 - 0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Timothy Chandler started and went the distance for Nuremberg as the Francoians picked up all three points against Dusseldorf on Saturday.
Chandler manned his usual right back spot for Nuremberg against promoted outfit Dusseldorf.
Nuremberg, after squandering chances in the fifth, 11th, 15th and 19th minutes, finally broke the deadlock in the 27th as Markus Feulner notched an assist on Sebastian Polter's goal, who created separation in the box and converted from point-blank range.
Nuremberg would have added another before the break, if it were not for the exploits of Dusseldorf keeper Fabian Giefer against Hanno Balitsch and Javier Pinola in the 32nd and 41st minutes respectively.
The Franconians finally grabbed their second in the waning moments of the game as Feulner sent in a laser from the edge of the box in the first minute of second half stoppage time to seal the victory.
Up next for Chandler and Nuremberg is a Sunday away date against Werder Bremen.
Hannover 96 3 - 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Hannover 96 and Steve Cherundolo picked up another three points against Bayer Leverkusen, after the Lower Saxons had lost three of the last four in league play.
After sitting around Hannover's midweek Europa League clash, Cherundolo captained Hannover and went the distance at right back.
The guests struck first through Gonzalo Castro, who got onto Lars Bender's cross in the second minute to leave Ron-Robert Zieler chanceless.
Hannover drew level in the 20th minute, when Szabolcs Hustzi converted a penalty after he was fouled in the box by Manuel Friedrich.
The Lower Saxons took their first lead of the match in the 57th minute thanks to a Mame Diouff header after Jan Schlaudraff picked out the Senegalese striker in the box.
The celebrations were short lived, however, as Stefan Kießling outduelled Mario Eggiman in the box to get his noggin to Bender's cross and power it past Zieler in the 58th minute.
Hannover finished the scoring the way they started it, through a Hustzi penalty. This time the Hungarian converted from the spot after being fouled by Stefan Reinartz in the area.
Hannover ends the first half of the Bundesliga season next week on the road versus Dusseldorf.
Jahn Regensburg 1 - 1 1860 Munich
It was derby day for Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich, who picked up a point on the road against Jahn Regensburg in Germany's second flight.
Wood made his third start in a row for Munich going the distance for head coach Alexander Schmidt.
In sub-freezing temperatures, both teams had difficulties finding any rhythm in the first 45 minutes of play, with just a handful of half-chances for both squads to show for their efforts.
Regensburg, however, opened the scoring on a Sebastian Hofmann spot kick after Mario Neunaber was fouled in the area by Christoph Schindler.
Munich left it late to equalize, as substitute Ziereis found Moritz Stoppelkamp alone in front of goal and the German found the back of the net from eight yards out in the 85th minute.
Up next for Wood and Munich is a home affair versus Dynamo Dresden.
FSV Frankfurt 3 - 1 SVS Sandhausen
Andrew Wooten put in 90 minutes of action for Sandhausen in a losing effort versus Frankfurt Frinday night to keep Sandhausen near the bottom of the standings.
Sandhausen skipper Hans-Jürgen Boysen opted for Wooten in attack in place of Kingsley Onuegbu.
On a frigid and snowy night in Hessian, the hosts struck first in the second minute. Frankfurt's John Verhoek outraced his defender to get onto a long, bounding ball, before sending a laser past keeper Daniel Ischdonat.
After 13 minutes, it was 2-0 to the hosts. South Korean midfielder was on hand to head home Edmund Kapllani's cross.
Sandhausen pulled within a goal in the 64th minute, when Frank Löning flicked Wooten's cross into the path of David Ulm, who slotted home into an empty net.
Kapllani put the game on ice in the 83rd minute after the guests failed to clear a corner. Kapllani pounced on a loose ball some 12 yards from goal and fired home, low and hard, for the game's final 3-1 scoreline.
Up next for Wooten and Sandhausen is another Friday night tilt versus FC Köln at home.
Joeseph Gyau was an unused substitute in Sankt Pauli's 3-0 defeat at home to Aue.
Matt Taylor served game two of a three-match ban as Münster came from two down to tie Chemnitz on the road.
Preston Zimmerman and Darmstadt saw their match versus Babelsberg postponed due to inclement weather.