Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Dropped points and late goals as Hoffenheim keeps lead
by Ian Plenderleith, December 15th, 2008 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[GERMANY]
There were draws and drama at the top of the Bundesliga as Hoffenheim tied nine-man Schalke to take the unofficial title of "fall champion" at the season's half way point, and Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen were both thwarted by last-minute equalizers. It was another bad day for Michael Bradley, substituted after an hour as his bottom-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach side lost again, 2-1 at short-handed Borussia Dortmund.

   
Schalke went 1-0 up at leader Hoffenheim through a first-half Gerald Asamoah goal, then were reduced to 10 men after Jermaine Jones was given a dubious second yellow card for an arguably clean, and certainly not ill-intentioned, tackle. His teammate Orlando Engelaar was so furious that he also saw yellow, which later became a red too for foul play. In the meantime, Selim Teber's superb, curling free-kick had brought Hoffenheim level. Despite a frenetic finale, Schalke held on for the point.
 
"We didn't let Hoffenheim have the space that they normally like to have," said Schalke coach Fred Rutten, something his fellow coaches might like to take note of in the second half of the season. Jones's dismissal was wrong, but Engelaar's justified, he added, though said nothing about his two assistant coaches who were also sent to the stands. Hoffenheim's Ralf Rangnick said his team wanted the three points so much that they were "almost arrogant, and I didn't much like that. I'm happy to be in first place, but I'd have been much happier with the two extra points."
 
Bayern, which would have gone top with a win, also had to make do with a point when Stuttgart's midfielder Sami Khedira scored in stoppage time at the end of each half, the second a corking volley from a poorly cleared corner to save the game. In between, Tim Borowski and Luca Toni, with his ninth goal of the season and his sixth in six games, scored for Bayern, who also lost Italian defender Massimo Oddo to a straight red card for violent play.
 
"It was an exciting, gripping derby," said Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann.  "All in all, I'm happy with what the team has achieved in the past three months." Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel, unbeaten after three games in charge, was also happy that his team showed "passion and resolve right up until the end. But I'm not completely happy with the result, because we had enough chances to win."
 
Lowly Cottbus leveled at Bayer Leverkusen with the last touch of the game through a header from Chinese substitute Jiayi Shao after Simon Rolfes had given the home side the lead on 77 minutes. That result dropped Leverkusen down to fifth, three points off the lead, as they were leapfrogged by Hertha Berlin, 4-0 winners over Karlsruhe, and Hamburg, which beat Eintracht Frankfurt on a superb diving header from Mladen Petric, his eighth of the season and his 14th in all competitions.
 
There was a win, a tie and a loss for the Bundesliga's three Americans. The win and the loss came in the same game, as Neven Subotic played through for a Borussia Dortmund team that held on to beat Bradley's last-place Borussia Moenchengladbach, 2-1, despite being down to 10 men after Hungarian midfielder Tamas Hajnal's red card after just 38 minutes. Bradley was subbed out just before the hour with his side 2-0 down. Dortmund goes into the winter break in sixth place. Steve Cherundolo returned to the Hannover team, but they could only tie, 1-1, at home to Arminia Bielefeld, leaving them just four points above the relegation zone.
 
Volatile Bremen beat Wolfsburg 2-1, and both teams end the first half of the season on 27 points in eight and ninth place respectively. Bochum, level on points at the bottom with Moenchengladbach, lost 2-1 at home to Cologne.
 
The Bundesliga is finely poised for an exciting second half of the season when it resumes Jan. 30, with just three points separating the top five clubs. A number of teams have adopted positive, attacking philosophies that have made the league far more entertaining to watch than either the English Premier League or the Italian Serie A. Only the technically superior Spanish Liga comes close to matching its average of just over three goals per game.

Goals scored Dec. 12-14: 24 in nine games (2.67 per game)
Goals scored in 2008-09 season: 462 in 153 games (3.02 per game


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
D.C.'s Espindola shows off stuff, Timbers refuse to wilt    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Tuesday] D.C. United all but clinched a berth in the quarterfinals of the ...
What They're Saying: Johan Cruyff    
"No. Not much. We're both Dutch and that is always a [shared] basis. ... Van Gaal ...
Olympiakos does a lot of things right    
[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Tuesday] Making it back to the UEFA Champions League final after coming tantalizingly ...
Sounders rally to snatch trophy from Union    
[OPEN CUP: Final] The Philadelphia Union had the home-crowd advantage, and scored first with a goal ...
New York City FC faces another tough stadium sell    
[MLS EXPANSION] More than a year after efforts to secure a site for a soccer-specific stadium ...
What They're Saying: Don Garber    
"Bruce has the opportunity to be our Tom Landry, our Pat Riley, and he continually puts ...
Orlando City keeps just six USL PRO players    
[MLS EXPANSION] Deposed USL PRO champion Orlando City moved quickly to get about the task of ...
Where to Watch European Soccer    
The new European club season has started up. Here are places Soccer America readers recommend where ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25    
[COLLEGE RANKINGS] UCLA remained No. 1 in the Soccer America Women's Top 25 rankings for a ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25    
[COLLEGE RANKINGS] After a week during which five of the top 10 teams lost, North Carolina ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives