Iver Fossum had put Hannover ahead at the Volksparkstadion, with the home side’s attempts to force an equaliser only coming to pass from a set piece situation with just a few minutes remaining.
They then had Kyriakos Papadopoulos sent off in stoppage time, with Hannover not having enough time to take advantage. Hamburg remain three points from safety.
Fossum hit leaves Hamburg in trouble again
Bernd Hollerbach had started as Hamburg coach with a credible 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig, and for his home debut he made just one change in personnel, with Albin Ekdal replacing Gideon Jung. This was a second successive derby for Hannover, after a rare home loss to VfL Wolfsburg last weekend, with two changes made – Julian Korb and Ihlas Bebou replaced Oliver Sorg and Martin Harnik.
Hannover were showing more intent to go forward in the early stages, but once Hamburg started to play with more vigour they would actually make the first chances of the game. Douglas Santos tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck by cutting in from the left to take a shot, which was saved by Philipp Tschauner. Aaron Hunt also had a pop but the Hannover goalkeeper wasn’t troubled as it sailed wide.
The visitors did look the more assured side. They came close from a Pirmin Schwegler corner, which was headed over by Niklas Füllkrug, before another good mini-spell for the Red Shorts presented their best chance of the first half. Walace found Santos on the left, who crossed in, but Bobby Wood, without a goal since August, was only able to head wide. Otherwise though, Hamburg’s front three were struggling to get involved in the game.
Hannover then nearly crafted a goal out of nothing. A header from Füllkrug was not dealt with by the Hamburg defence and Felix Klaus, in the air, almost struck in, only for Christian Mathenia to put the ball over off the bar. From the resulting corner, Sakhi thought he cleared the ball, but outside the box it was chested down by Fossum, who then hit the ball sweetly past everyone and into the top corner, his first Bundesliga goal and just his second for Hannover.
Wood had another chance to score just before the break, having been played through by Hunt, but he struck his shot straight wide. The half then ended controversially, as Kostic was brought down by Salif Sané in the box. The referee Sascha Stegemann thought the Hannover defender got the ball, and the decision stood after a VAR review, even though the evidence suggested he got a large chunk of Kostic beforehand. As the half-time whistle blew, there was a coming together of the players, with Hamburg still reeling after that decision.
Desperate Hamburg saved by Kostic
Hamburg looked brighter again following the restart, but Papadopoulos headed over from a corner whilst a scramble in the box saw Wood denied again. Hannover had plenty of chances for a second though as well, with Füllkrug going wide with one, before a Korb cross saw Bebou force Mathenia into another save, before he denied Füllkrug once more.
Both sides were giving it their all by this stage without showing too much quality. For Hamburg, that meant a Santos shot being aimed straight as Tschauner, whilst Wood showed little confidence as he headed a Kostic cross wide. For Hannover, Matthias Ostrzolek tried to score against his former club, but did not come close with his attempt.
In the end, as things became increasingly desperate for Hamburg, he ended up playing his part in the equaliser. He gave away a free-kick for a foul on the young substitute Tatsuya Ito out on the right, which was whipped in by another substitute in Sejad Salihovic. Hannover couldn’t clear it, and Kostic at the far post the fire in the loose ball. Replays showed it was questionable whether he was onside, but VAR wasn’t consulted to check. Hamburg didn’t care either way.
Neither side was happy with a point. Although it would have served Hannover better, they came close to making sure of all three, however Harnik, on the pitch for the last 15 minutes, put a shot from Füllkrug’s cross the wrong side at the post. At the other end, the ball was left to bounce the Hannover box once more, although this time Kostic could only go over the bar.
In the final minute of stoppage time, there was one last piece of drama. Harnik passed to Füllkurg in the centre, and as he approached the box, Papadopoulos came from behind and pulled out an arm to halt his momentum. Stegemann gave a free-kick, and showed the Greek defender a second yellow card of the game, having been booked earlier in the half. Right on the edge of the box, the free-kick was probably too close to score from and Fossum ended up putting it over, meaning Hannover would have to settle for the point. Hamburg remain in deep trouble though.