Hamburg - Hamburger SV gained their third consecutive home win in the Bundesliga after a 2-0 victory over 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 16.
A goal in each half from Artjoms Rudnevs put the Redshorts on their way to victory in a game that Thorsten Fink's men largely dominated, despite Hoffenheim's promising start.
Hoffenheim, with four changes to their starting line-up on Frank Kramer's debut as coach, showed early signs that they had no intention of leaving Hamburg empty-handed. Sebastian Rudy and Roberto Firmino gave the home side early warnings with shots from the edge of the box, before Dennis Aogo fluffed his lines in front of Koen Casteels at the other end.
The visitors' possession was more fluid and more threatening, and they soon tested Rene Adler as well, Eren Derdiyok firing low into Adler's midriff after 17 minutes. Sejad Salihovic and Daniel Williams then should have produced more on a quick breakaway for the guests, the final pass letting them down. It was a missed opportunity that proved costly as, after Aogo had tested Casteels with a free-kick, Rudnevs broke the deadlock, lobbing the keeper with a well-placed header from Dennis Diekmeier's cross.
Hamburg take control
Hoffenheim responded well, though. Firmino forced Adler to palm away his powerful drive and then headed the resulting corner over the bar, while Salihovic had another two attempts from range. With a one-goal lead, however, Hamburg looked increasingly in control of proceedings and could have doubled their lead. Heung-Min Son missed the target shortly before the break, before Tolgay Arslan came even closer, spectacularly hitting a bouncing ball onto the bar.
In the opening stages after the restart, the match became somewhat flat in comparison to the first half, and other than a promising through-ball from Firmino played just a little too far for Kevin Volland, neither side created much. The sub-zero temperatures, it seemed, were coming into play, as the game was played almost entirely in midfield.
Rudnevs on the spot
Hamburg had no difficulty in maintaining their dominance, yet it took the Hanseatic team until after the hourmark to again find a way through the now deep-lying hosts, Arslan mis-hitting a cross from the right by Diekmeier. Aogo then shot wide from distance, but the home side's probing eventually paid dividends in the 74th minute as Rudnevs was well-positioned to slot home from close range, after yet more poor defending from the guests at a set-piece.
Second to the ball and consistently outmanoeuvred by HSV, 1899 failed to create anything more in the largely uneventful final minutes, and Hamburg were left to see out one of the more comfortable victories they are likely to have this season, while Hoffenheim must digest their fifth defeat in a row.
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