(Sunday, February 4, 2007) -- Borussia Mönchengladbach has been so far down, maybe things are looking up under new coach Jos Luhukay. Albeit, the club has only played one match for the Dutchman, but yesterday's victory at Arminia Bielefeld was only Mönchengladbach's fifth of the German Bundesliga season.
Things were so bad, Jupp Heynckes resigned, he said, because he received death threats. Through Tuesday's 0-0 draw at home with FC Nürnberg, Mönchengladbach had been winless in 13 matches, going 0-9-4.
American Kasey Keller was solid in goal, earning his second clean sheet in as many matches, not called upon to do very much for a second straight outing. Federico Insua gave Gladbach a lead in the a lead in the 28th minute, while Marcell Jansen iced the triumph 89th minute.
Against tie-prone Nürnberg (6-2-12, 30 points), which has the league's best defense with only seven goals allowed. Neither side created much in the way of scoring chances.
On January 27, Gladbach lost a road contest 3-1 to Energie Cottbus at Stadion der Freundschaft as the Bundesliga resumed action after a seven-week winter break.
Except for an error late in stoppage time, Keller performed reasonably well, but could not stop Sergiu Radu from scoring twice in the first half. Midfieder Vlad Munteanu was also a continual problem for Gladbach, which was playing without usual starters Filip Daems, Oliver Neuville and Sebastin Svärd.
In the 32nd minute, Keller stopped a wicked drive from Munteanu and his defense cleared a rebound off the goal-line. However, a minute later, Munteanu again was stopped by Keller, only to see Radu chip the rebound over the keeper's head.
Six minutes later, Munteanu touched a ball to Radu, who slid a shot under Keller for a 2-0 lead.
After David Degen brought Gladbach back into the game at 2-1 in the 79th minute, Keller could not control a cross from Steffen Baumgart in injury time and the ball fell at the feet of Munteanu who scored.
Gladbach is tied for 15th place, straddling the relegation zone with Alamenia Aachen at 5-11-4 with 19 points. Both teams have a minus-10 goal differential, but Aachen has scored twice as many goals (32-16) to be officially safe while Gladbach is in the drop zone. Both teams are only four points out of 10th place.
Following a one-game suspension, U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo was back in the lineup wearing the captain's armband Hannover 96 for a couple of easy victories this week. He went the distance twice as Hannover embarrassed Hertha Berlin 5-0 Wednnesday and dropped Aachen 4-1 yesterday.
Hannnover squelched Hertha, allowing few chances, while only conceded a penalty kick to Aachen in the 26th minute, narrowing its lead to 2-1 at the time.
Hannover is in eighth place at 7-8-5 with 26 points.
Last-place Hamburg SV is another struggling Bundesliga club with a new coach. Former Schalke coach Huub Stevens, who had been coaching Roda JC of the Netherlands, replaced Thomas Doll, who was sacked after Hamburg started the second half of the season with a loss and a draw.
In Stevens' debut Saturday, Hamburg took an early lead, but fell 2-1 to host Hertha Berlin at Olympiastadion.
It's too soon to say where American midfielder Benny Feilhaber will fit in the new coach's plans. He had started to get first-team playing time under Doll, but did not dress for the match in Berlin.
Feilhaber came on in the 83rd minute, but had little chance to contribute in Doll's finale, a 1-1 home draw Wednesday with Energie Cottbus, Hamburg's fourth straight draw.
On January 27, Hamburg was within seconds of starting off the second half of the season with its second win, but conceded a goal to Marcio Borges in the 89th minute for a 1-1 draw with host Arminia Bielefeld.
Feilhaber was inserted on the left side of a three-man midfield to start the second half for a flu-riddled team missing several players. He replaced Juan Pablo Sorin, normally a defender.
Danijel Ljuboja put Hamburg up in the 10th minute, but Marcio Borges headed home the equalizer off Bernd Korynietz's free kick.
Hamburg (1-7-12, 15) needs to jump over two teams, but is only four points from relegation safety with 16 matches left.
U.S. striker Conor Casey's days with 1. FC Mainz 05 are apparently over. He saw limited action last season after having surgery for a knee injury, not able to return to the team until late in the fall.
Over the winter break, struggling Mainz (3-8-9, 18), which is in the relegation zone, decided to revamp its forward line and told Casey he no longer fit into their plans. His contract expires at the end of the season and was told him he can continue to train with the club or it will release him as a free transfer should he find a new team. If released, he could join a new team at any time and not have to wait for the next transfer window,
It was reported Casey trained with RKC Waalwijk of the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, though nothing came out of the trial. His agent said several German teams in the first and second divisions have inquired about him. Should he want to return to the U.S. and play in Major League Soccer, the Colorado Rapids hold his rights.
Wolff scores, but loses in debut
In the 2.Bundesliga, U.S. striker Josh Wolff scored late in his first start with 1860 Munich, but it wasn't enough to bring his new team back in a 2-1 loss at Kickers Offenbach last Sunday
Wolff was given his start over Nicky Eagles after Munich suffered a 3-0 loss the previous week to SpVgg Greuther Fürth to start the second half. With Munich trailing 2-0 in the 87th minute, Wolff connected on a long shot.
U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter started in the center of the Munich back-line, which was much improved over its dreary performance against Fürth. Berhalter twice came close to notching goals, heading a ball just wide in the 27th minute and then putting a ball in the net four minutes later, but having the goal negated by an offside call.
Munich (8-7-4, 28), which is in a three-way tie for sixth place, hosts relegation challenged SV Wacker Burghausen Monday night.
Bradley gets start
In the Dutch Eredivisie Friday night, American midfielder Michael Bradley played 90 minutes for Heerenveen, which salvaged a 1-1 saw with host FC Groningen on Brazilian Afonso Alves' free-kick goal in the 70th minute.
Bradley got the start because midfielders Jakob Poulsen and André Hanssen were ailing. Bradley had been a second-half sub in the first two games of the second half of the season.
On January 26, he entered in the 68th minute of a 5-1 home victory over SC Heracles Almelo. Rob Friend, a 26-year-old Canadian striker who played collegiately at the University of California-Santa Barbara, joined the fray in the 74th minute for Heerenveen
Heerenveen (11-8-4, 37) is in sixth place. Sixth- through ninth-place teams qualify for the UEFA Cup play-in round. Heerenveen needs to make up six points to make it to fifth place, which would earn a spot in the Champions League play-in round.