Luck was very much against Hamburger SV as they failed to make the most of an impressive performance in a goalless draw with 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Filip Kostic had a goal disallowed by VAR for offside in the first half and had a poor penalty saved as they missed countless over chances in this relegation six-pointer seen as one of the last chances to save their Bundesliga status.
They remain seven pints behind Mainz, who were very poor here and had Leon Balogun sent off, but were able to go back level on points with VfL Wolfsburg, who were beaten by Bayer Leverkusen.
Hamburg impress but Kostic goal chalked off
The stakes couldn’t be much higher here, with Hamburg needing a first win since November to avoid falling ever further adrift in the bottom two. Bernd Hollerbach made one interesting change from the defeat to Werder Bremen, with Sven Schipplock brought in up front for André Hahn. Mainz, just a place above them, made two enforced changes from their draw with Wolfsburg, with Florian Müller making his debut in goal with Robin Zentner injured, whilst Yoshinori Muto replaced the ill Emil Berggreen.
Schipplock, without a goal for Hamburg in 31 previous attempts, had two excellent chances to break his duck. An early shot was saved by 20-year-old Müller, who also got the slightest of touches on an excellent opportunity which went over off the bar, after Bakery Jatta’s cross was touched on by Kostic. In between, there was also efforts from Walace, who was also denied by Müller, and Douglas Santos, who sent his shot wide.
Hamburg were clearly up for this relegation scrap and halfway through the half they thought they had taken a deserved league. Aaron Hunt’s pass was flicked on by Schipplock to Kostic. Played through, he was one-on-one on Müller who couldn’t do anything this time to stop him striking through and in. The only trouble was that Kostic had been clearly offside, and Hamburg’s joy was short-lived once VAR was consulted.
Hamburg continued to play well after that, with their fight obvious to see even if they didn’t test Müller much after the disallowed goal. Mainz were playing like the side in deeper trouble, with only an effort from Robin Quaison that was saved by Christian Mathenia early in the half to show for their ordinary performance before the half-time break. Balogun meanwhile was guilty of a, probably, unintentional elbow on Schipplock. He got away with a yellow card but it would cost him later on.
Kostic penalty miss sums up frustrating afternoon
Young defender Rick van Drongelen became the latest Hamburg player to miss out after half-time, with the bar saving Mainz again. Kostic had put the ball in the box with Schipplock headed to van Drongelen, with his volley scraping the woodwork. Mainz came a hair’s length from striking the post meanwhile at the other end, with Daniel Brosinski’s free-kick just wide.
Hamburg might have hoped that luck was finally going their way when they won a penalty and saw their opponents reduced to ten men. Luca Waldschmidt was bundled over in the box by Balogun, enough to earn him his second yellow card. Kostic stepped up, but his penalty was poor and Müller added to his impressive afternoon with a comfortable save.
Hamburg kept going for it, as well they might with an extra man. Along with Waldschmidt, Hahn and Jann-Fiete Arp were brought on to get that goal with Schipplock still on as well. Santos though had an effort wide, before a Waldschmidt cross was cleared and Apr, soon after coming on, struck both high and wide.
Despite the overload of strikers though, they struggled to feed them in the later stages having sacrificed most of their midfield. They had a mild scare when a Brosinski free-kick went over and Suat Serdar hit a shot at Mathenia, whilst they couldn’t craft a chance from a very late Santos corner. This was a big chance to give themselves hope of staying up, and they had 19 shots in all, but seven points back and just nine games to go, the clock is ticking on Hamburg’s status as the Bundesliga’s only ever-presents.
Saturday afternoon’s other Bundesliga results
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 Hannover 96 (1-0, da Costa 39‘)
FC Augsburg 0-2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (0-1, Kramaric 30‘; 0-2, Gnabry 50‘)
Schalke 04 1-0 Hertha BSC (1-0, Pjaca 37‘)
VfL Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen (0-1, Alario 31‘; 0-2, Brandt 78’; 1-2, Mehmedi 79‘)