American Exports: Jermaine Jones, Schalke book Champions League berth
AMSTERDAM – Jermaine Jones notched an assist on the second-half winner as Schalke claimed the Bundesliga's last Champions League berth with a 2-1 victory at Freiburg on Saturday.
In the 58th minute, the US international breached the right side of the area thanks to a lead pass from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Jones quickly teed up a right-footed shot that appeared to be headed just wide of the far post when Freiburg midfielder Julian Schuster comically bundled into his own net.
Though a draw ended up being enough to clinch the Champions League return, Schalke won for the fourth time in six road games.
Around the league, Fabian Johnson went the distance as Hoffenheim hit twice late for a 2-1 triumph at Borussia Dortmund that gave them a shot at Bundesliga survival.
Sejad Salihović converted from the spot in the 77th and 82nd minutes to give the visitors their first-ever victory at Dortmund. More importantly, the result lifted Hoffenheim into a promotion/relegation playoff with 2.Bundesliga third-place finishers FC Kaiserslautern.
Doing compatriots Johnson and Daniel Williams a favor, Steve Cherundolo set up the winner in his 300th Bundesliga appearance as Hannover 96 enjoyed a 3-0 waltz past visiting Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The skipper picked out Miram Bire Diouf with a right-flank cross and the striker made no mistake to put the Reds ahead to stay seven minutes shy of halftime. The win ensured Hannover of a ninth-place finish, their third in a row in the top 10.
Next door in Austria, Terrence Boyd went 77 minutes as Rapid Vienna's struggles continued with a 2-0 defeat at Mattersburg.
The US forward nearly tied the game at one just past the hour mark, only to have the home netminder tip his shot over. Third-place Rapid have won just twice in 15 games since the winter break.