Keller, Mönchengladbach go down 3-0 to Werder Bremen.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
| Things are looking up for Kasey Keller and Borussia Mönchengladbach, but not yesterday when they lost 3-0 to Werder Bremen.
-- Borussia Mönchengladbach web site photo --
(Sunday, October 1, 2006) -- United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller suffered through one of the worst five-minute stretches of his career yesterday. Host Werder Bremen beat him three times in that period en route to a 3-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in a German Bundesliga match at Weserstadion.
In the 33rd minute Naldo hammered a free kick that Keller managed to parry away, but Werder striker Aaron Hunt was the first to the rebound and scored to make it 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, as Werder continued to apply pressure, Hunt fed Christian Schulz whose blast beat Keller. In the 38th minute, Diego found a top corner of the net on a free kick from 22 yards for a 3-0 advantage.
Through six matches, Mönchengladbach has been up and down, winning all three home matches while dropped all three contests on the road, leaving the club tied for sixth place with nine points.
Last week, strong goal keeping by Keller combined with an alert defense allowed G'ladbach to defeat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 at home in Borussia-Park.
Keller only had to make a pair of saves on the night as G'ladbach dominated most of the action and probably should have won by a wider margin.
That match was in contrast to a week earlier when G'ladbach suffered through a long afternoon on the road, dropping a 4-2 decision to Alemania Aachen at Tivoli Stadium.
Keller conceded a penalty kick in the seventh minute and also saw Jan Schlaudraff's second goal deflect off a defender and change directions before going in the 84th minute. Newly promoted Aaachen, which is now tied with G'ladbach in the standings at 3-3, far and away had its best match of the young season under new coach Michael Frontzeck.
G'ladbach received a pair of goals from Brazilian Kahe in an ugly match in which fans from both sides were accused of directing racial slurs towards opposing players. The German Soccer Federation is continuing its investigation that probably will result in fines and suspensions.
Both Mönchengladbach and Aachen are only one point below first place in the tightly packed standings where only three points separate first top 14 teams in the 18-club league.
Hannover 96, which got off to a terrible start to the season, is now playing for its new coach, Aachen's former manager Dieter Hecking. With a 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund Friday, Hannover is 1-0-2 under Hecking
With American Steve Cherundolo at his usual right back position, visiting Hannover used second-half goals three minutes apart, sandwiched around the second tally of the day by Dortmund striker Ebi Smolarek, to twice erase one-goal deficits at Signal-Iduna-Park.
Hannover also drew 1-1 last weekend at home with Bayer Leverkusen at AWD-Arena. Bosnia-Herzegovina captain Sergej Barbarez, a former Hannover player, put Leverkusen ahead 1-0 in the 37th minute, with Thomas Brdaric leveling the match for Hannover in the 74th minute.
This followed Hannover's 2-1 decision over Wolfsburg on the road in Hecking's debut behind a pair of second-half goals by Brdaric.
These have been traumatic times for Hannover. In addition to the coaching change, goalkeeper Robert Enke's two-year-old daughter tragically died from from a heart defect she had from birth. He has continued to play and his teammates have worn black armbands.
The club has also battled influenza with a number of players struck down with starters Michael Tarnat, Dariusz Zuraw and Jiri Stajner all sidelined against Leverkusen.
Despite being tied for 16th place, Hannover (1-3-2, 5 points) is in the thick of things, trailing the five clubs tied for first place by five points.
U.S. striker Conor Casey is recovering more slowly than originally anticipated from offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, but he hopes to be back in the 1. FC Mainz 05 lineup in the next two weeks.
Mainz, 1-1-4 and tied for 13th place with seven points, can't wait to get him back, having scored only six goals, tied for second worst in the Bundesliga.
Bradley is first off bench for Heerenveen
American Michael Bradley has become the first player off the bench for Heerenveen, playing in the defensive midfield for a club that is off to a good start in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Today, host Heerenveen held defending champion PSV Eindhoven to a 0-0 draw before a packed house of 26,000 at Abee Lenstra Stadion.
Bradley entered the match in the 83rd minute to counter two offensive substitutions PSV made moments earlier.
Last Sunday Heerenveen played well but suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to FC Utrecht on a penalty kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Bradley came on in the 69th minute and played hard, earning a yellow card in the 80th minute
A week earlier, Bradley entered in the 58th minute with Heerenveen leading by one in an eventual 3-0 decision over NEC Nijmegen. Lasse Nilsson scored three minutes after Bradley entered and Danijel Pranjic added an insurance goal in the 77th minute.
Heerenveen (3-2-1, 10) is in a three-way tie for seventh place, five points out of first.
In UEFA Cup action Thursday, Bradley was again first off the bench in the 72nd minute of a 0-0 draw at home with Vitória Setúbal of Portugal, giving Heerenveen a 3-0 aggregate victory and advancement from the first round into the group phase.
Going into the match with a 3-0 lead, Heerenveen took few chances and played defensively for 90 minutes.
Onyewu, Standard exit UEFA Cup early
U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu went the distance, but Standard de Liège was rudely eliminated from the UEFA Cup 3-0 by Celta Vigo of Spain's La Liga Thursday for an aggregate of 4-0 in the first-round series.
Standard had dug itself a hole by losing 1-0 in the home leg when a good defensive effort went to waste because of an absent attack. In the second leg In Spain, Standard still produced no offense while its defense wilted under pressure.
Standard has begun playing a bit better in Belgium's Jupiler League, but lost 2-1 today to La Gantoise. Onyewu was suspended from the match because of accumulated yellow cards.
Standard had won its two matches. Last weekend, it defeated Cercle Bruges 1-0 on Karel Geraerts' goal just before halftime.
Onyewu started in the center of defense and received his second yellow card in the past two matches in the 84th minute.
A week earlier, Sandard defeated visiting FC Brussels 2-1 in a physical match in which Brussels had players receive eight yellow cards and one sent off in the 40th minute. Onyewu was issued a yellow card in the 12th minute for a professional foul.
After a slow start, Standard is 3-3-2, tied for seventh place with three other teams with 11 points.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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