Hamburg - Hertha Berlin added to Hamburger SV's current woes with a comfortable 3-0 win at the Imtech Arena on Saturday evening, condemning the Bundesliga's only ever-present club to a sixth straight top-flight defeat for the first time in their history.
Early lead for Hertha despite penalty miss
An opening goal from Sami Allagui and two more from league top scorer Adrian Ramos effectively killed the game as a contest before half time, ensuring Hertha put the brakes on a two-game losing mini-slump of their own. Last season's Bundesliga 2 champions resultantly move back up to seventh in the standings, with Hamburg still rooted in a direct relegation place on 16 points, four above cellar-dwellers Eintracht Braunschweig.
Despite an energetic start from the hosts it was Hertha who carved out the first chance of note, Ramos heading a tenth-minute Tolga Cigerci free-kick just wide of the post. Four minutes later, the visitors were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to go in front when Heiko Westermann was adjudged to have fouled Hajime Hosogai when sliding in to clear the ball inside the box. Ramos stepped up for the resultant spot-kick, but home keeper Rene Adler guessed correctly and got across to spectacularly turn the ball around the post.
It proved a short-lived let-off for HSV, however, as Ramos met Marcel Ndjeng's resultant corner with a header that set up Allagui for a simple far-post tap-in to put the men from Berlin in front. Hamburg responded to the setback with a couple of half-chances of their own, Marcell Jansen forcing Hertha keeper Thomas Kraft into action with an awkward bouncing shot from distance and Jacques Zoua scuffing a tight-angled effort into the side netting.
Ramos at the double
However, it was 2-0 to the visitors midway through the half as they struck to deadly effect from another set piece. Once again it was a Cigerci free-kick targetting Ramos, but this time the Colombian frontman's header beat Adler at the near post to maintain his own great scoring run this season and put Hertha firmly in the driving seat.
Things got even worse for Hamburg seven minutes before the interval as Jos Luhukay's troops gave themselves a three-goal cushion courtesy of a razor-sharp counter-attack. Ramos fed Johannes van den Bergh out on the left and ran onto the perfectly-timed return pass to clinically sink his 14th goal of the campaign, taking him one ahead of Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski at the top of the individual scoring chart.
Done and dusted
An already uphill task had now become positively vertiginous for the rattled hosts and in the early stages of the second half, it was Hertha who looked the more likely to add further to their tally, with the irrepressible Ramos carving a swathe through the defence early on, only for his touch to let him down when through on Adler once more.
That proved a false dawn in terms of further goalmouth action however, as the match petered to a close with Hamburg unable to seriously threaten their opponents' back line and the visitors evidently content to nurse the result home as the half progressed.
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