Hamburger SV were unable to banish the memories of their heavy defeat at the weekend as they were held to a goalless draw by SpVgg Greuther Fürth in the final 2. Bundesliga match of the Englische Woche.
Maximilian Wittek hit the bar for the hosts in the first couple of minutes but Hamburg were dominate for the most part. They lacked cutting edge up front though, despite Vasilije Janjičić having a goal disallowed in the second half.
Story of the match
After the drubbing against SSV Jahn Regensburg on Sunday, things nearly started terribly again for Hamburg here. Fürth were awarded an early free-kick, a little way out on the left. Despite that, Maximilian Wittek went for goal, hitting it hard, and Julian Pollersbeck was all at sea as it went over him and rattled the crossbar.
That early scare aside, Hamburg were able to control the first half. Sascha Burchert was not really tested in Fürth’s goal though, comfortably saving a Janjičić header, whilst Pierre-Michel Lasogga could only go wide after connecting with an Orel Mangala free-kick. The striker felt he should have had a penalty as well, having his shirt tugged in the box by Lukas Gugganig, but referee Sascha Stegemann was not interested in pointing to the spot.
The Fürth goalkeeper made further saves as the half wore on but Christian Titz was clearly frustrated when a Janjičić free-kick sailed over everyone in the box and out wide. Fürth meanwhile failed to test a Hamburg defence that had looked shaky early on, with no chances of any note after the early Wittek effort.
Titz brought on Tatsuya Ito at the break, and he had a positive impact, including a deflected shot over the bar. Khaled Narey also came close to scoring against his former club, but his hard strike was kept out by Burchert. Hamburg then thought they’d taken the lead when a Janjičić free-kick from the left of the box went all the way in, but it was disallowed with Stegemann penalising David Bates for backing into Burchert.
Lasogga’s evening was ended with just under 15 minutes remaining as Titz threw on Fiete Arp. Before that, Hamburg’s more experienced frontman had failed to connect with a Narey cross, having managed to stray offside as well. Meanwhile Arp came very close to scoring moments after he entered the pitch. He connected with a cut-back from another substitute, Hwang Hee-chan, but a deflection took his miss-hit effort wide.
Despite the impetus provided by Titz’s reinforcements, Hamburg were unable to force a victory, and the result will not ease the pressure that resulting from the capitulation at the weekend, leaving a cloud above the mood at the Volksparkstadion ahead of the derby against FC St. Pauli this coming weekend.
Takeaways from the match
Hamburg persist with high-risk style:
Hamburg had made four changes from the shock Regensburg defeat, including returns for Bates and Lasogga, who had been conspicuous in their absence on Sunday, although the latter would be ineffectual here for the most part.
Nevertheless, there was no noticeable change in their approach of building out from the back in reaction to that defeat. There were nervy moments early on, with Gotoku Sakai and Mangala guilty of given the ball away, but they continued to build from the back, which had the effect of taking the spark from the hosts’ bright start.
Unlike Regensburg on Sunday, Fürth opted not to press when Hamburg’s defenders – and goalkeeper – had the ball in their own half. If they had done so, they could have forced a mistake out of a defence that has made plenty already this season when put under pressure.
Fürth lack the mentality to push promotion contenders:
The Shamrocks have started the season strongly, with the 2-0 defeat to 1. FC Heidenheim at the weekend their first in the league this season. Whilst they frustrated Hamburg here with a solid defence, their failure to expose the weaknesses of their opponents already discussed showed that Damir Burić was content with a safety-first approach to the game.
This approach had almost worked wonders when they tried it in the DFB-Pokal against Borussia Dortmund earlier in the season, but Hamburg could well have been here for the taking here and they didn’t take the chance, despite a positive team selection. Daniel Keita-Ruel was left isolated for most of the game, unable to add to the five goals he’s scored already this season. The same can be said of Julian Green in the number 10 role.
We have already seen Regensburg and Holstein Kiel reap the rewards of attacking Hamburg, whilst SC Paderborn 07 were similarly successful in their thrilling contest with 1. FC Köln. Fürth’s lack of willingness to do likewise here shows they don’t yet have the mentality that they would need to be considers genuine promotion contenders.
Few players shone brightly in this game, but Burchert was alert whenever tested in Fürth’s goal, but thanks to the efforts of the defence in front of him that was not very often. Ito gave Hamburg much-needed impetus in the second half, however their defence looked more solid at the back with Bates restored.
Léo Lacroix, his replacement against Regensburg, had been a liability and tellingly the only goals Hamburg have conceded since the first weekend of the season have come when Lacroix, rather than the Scotsman, has played. Bates’s clearance of a Fabian Reese cross perhaps wasn’t vital but showed his alertness to possible danger.