Hamburg - Eintracht Frankfurt's firepower proved too hot to handle in a hard-fought 2-0 win over Hamburger SV in Saturday's late kick-off, bringing to an end their hosts' four game winning streak on home soil.
Srdjan Lakic, the forgotten man at parent club VfL Wolfsburg, made an immediate impact on his debut by netting a first-half brace. They were the striker's first goals after enduring a lengthy barren spell dating back to 14 May 2011 and gave Frankfurt some extra breathing room in fourth place.
With both teams harbouring hopes of claiming a European qualification spot, the opening exchanges were surprisingly cagey. Each adopted a risk-averse approach and though the ball moved swiftly within their respective ranks, neither outfit was allowed time on the ball. Lakic went within inches of opening the scoring, and his Frankfurt account only to head just wide. Yet subsequently it was the hosts who finally began flexing their muscles having dominated the early possession.
Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp had to be brave in claiming Dennis Aogo's cross at the feet of Artjom Rudnevs, yet it was sign of things to come, with the wing-play proving to be a decisive factor in proceedings. Aogo himself, brimming with confidence after his match-winning performance against Bremen last week, twice plucked up the courage to fire at goal from distance, as the Red Shorts continued to up the pressure.
Eagles take flight
However, it was Frankfurt who broke the deadlock against the run of play when Stefan Aigner turned his marker in the box to fire across the face of goal, where an unmarked Lakic was on hand to poke the ball across the line. The opener handed Frankfurt the impetus as their backline absorbed the hosts' pressure before moving the ball forward swiftly to punish Hamburg's high line.
Heung-Min Son and Rudnevs both wasted half chances approaching the half hour mark, but with the match playing into Frankfurt's hands, Armin Veh's charges continued to use the space afforded them to devastating effect as they furthered their lead. Hamburg were caught cold by a typically incisive Frankfurt move as Aigner once again found Lakic with a pin-point cross, allowing the striker to head home unmarked at the back post.
Hapless HSV fail to strike back
HSV boss Thorsten Fink made two changes during the break in an attempt to change his side's fortunes. Yet even with a two-goal lead, Frankfurt weren't about to rest on their laurels as Alexander Meier clipped the outside of the post from 25-yards. The home crowd was sparked into life soon after though, as Hamburg began carving out chances of their own. Son forced Trapp to tip his dipping header over the bar before sending a fierce effort whistling past the far post on the hour mark.
HSV were out to prove a point in the second half. Although they looked vulnerable on the break, the hosts were dictating the pace of proceedings and creating chances, but were bereft of the finishing touches on their most promising chances. Son was the guiltiest party, squandering a handful of opportunities, while Rafael van der Vaart could only find the side netting with a late free-kick, rendering HSV's dominance useless in what was a frantic ending to a match that did little to disappoint in terms of excitement.
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