American Exports: Fabian Johnson returns to Hoffenheim lineup at right back

Fabian Johnson general head shot vs Italy

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

AMSTERDAM – Fabian Johnson returned to the Hoffenheim lineup on Saturday, going the distance at right back in a 4-1 derby triumph over Stuttgart.

Making his first start since January 25 and the first since announcing he would be leaving Hoffenheim in June, Johnson also enjoyed the first scoring chance of the game. In the second minute, the US international successfully combined with Sejad Salihovic to fire on goal, only to watch Rani Khedira rescue his 'keeper by clearing the Schwabians' line.

Rebounding from a midweek DfB-Pokal exit at home, Hoffenheim cruised to their first ever win over nearby rivals Stuttgart at Rhein-Neckar Arena. The victory bumped them up to 10th place, eight points clear of the danger zone.

Switching focus to England's Championship, Tim Ream had a solid shift at left back as Bolton were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Millwall.

The former Red Bulls defender had limited impact moving into the attack, but registered 10 clearances and three tackles at the defensive end. Scant moments after Lukas Jutkiewicz missed a chance to put the game away from the spot, Wanderers conceded with 12 minutes to play, extending their win drought in league play to nine games.

Despite a decent effort from center back Will Packwood, Birmingham City continued a dreary St. Andrews slump with a 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town. The youngster logged 16 clearances, but it was not enough as the Brums stayed winless at home since October 1, a span of 11 matches.

Meanwhile, in the FA Cup, Jozy Altidore got a day off with most of the regulars as Sunderland reached the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over visiting Southampton. The Black Cats – who have already booked a place in March's Capital One Cup final against Manchester City – are now 7-1-1 in their last nine games across all competitions.

Greg Seltzer covers Americans based in Europe for MLSsoccer.com.