Domi Kumbela's hat-trick helped Braunschweig to a dramatic comeback against Hamburg
Domi Kumbela's hat-trick helped Braunschweig to a dramatic comeback against Hamburg

Elation for Braunschweig, derby joy for Hoffenheim

Munich - Hamburger SV's season went from bad to worse after a disastrous defeat to relegation rivals Eintracht Braunschweig on Matchday 21, while Werder Bremen gained a precious point in their bid to avoid the drop at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1899 Hoffenheim ran out derby winners against VfB Stuttgart.

Eintracht Braunschweig 4-2 Hamburger SV rounds up Saturday afternoon's action...

Hamburger SV suffered their seventh Bundesliga defeat on the trot after Domi Kumbela’s hat-trick inspired Eintracht Braunschweig to a 4-2 win in Lower Saxony.

HSV coach Bert van Marwijk had called this the “biggest game of his side’s season so far” in his pre-match press conference, and it was no surprise that the teams contributed to a cagey start in the Eintracht-Stadion. Hamburg had yet to even score in 2014 going into the game, but they put that unwanted statistic to bed when Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s strike looped up over Daniel Davari and into the net.

Braunschweig, as ever, were competing admirably in the 50-50s, but they struggled to put what had been a defence that had nine league goals in 2014 under pressure, with their best opportunity in the first half a Norman Theuerkauf shot that drifted harmlessly wide.

Adler’s horror moment

Torsten Lieberknecht’s men had come back from being a goal down just once all season - a 1-1 draw against 1. FC Nürnberg - but they were gifted a route back into the game after the restart when HSV’s Rene Adler’s spilled a harmless-looking corner, with Kumbela on hand to smash in a leveller. And the game sensationally turned on its head on the hour-mark, with the Congolese striker taking advantage of some hugely lax defending to side-foot his team into the lead.

Adler then redeemed himself with a stunning point-blank save to deny Kumbela his hat-trick, an act that seemed to be a turning point when substitute Ilicevic’s mishit shot landed somewhat fortuitously in the corner with 14 minutes to play. However, Adler’s day got worse when he flapped at a free-kick, allowing Kumbela to turn the loose ball home and net his first-ever Bundesliga treble. Try as they might, a third equaliser proved beyond the Red Shorts and their dismal day was complete when Jan Hochscheidt tapped in for 4-2 with almost the final kick.

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1899 Hoffenheim 4-1 VfB Stuttgart

1899 Hoffenheim made it two wins from two at home in 2014 with a deserved 4-1 win against local rivals VfB Stuttgart, with Sven Schipplock, Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino grabbing the goals.

Markus Gisdol’s Hoffenheim side had been trounced 6-1 in the teams‘ first derby meeting back in September and they set out with a clear desire to set the record straight in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. After Fabian Johnson had been denied by a sprawling save in only the second minute, Schipplock converted Firmino’s cross with aplomb to put the hosts in front.

The playing surface had quickly become sodden in the pouring rain, and with both sets of players flying into the challenges, excitement came thick and fast. Stuttgart came close to an equaliser through Moritz Leitner’s fizzing drive, although they might easily have fallen further behind had Sejad Salihovic’s long-range strike not hit the wrong side of the post.

Volland clinical

Stuttgart’s luck ran out within minutes of the restart, though, as Volland seized onto a cute pass from Salihovic, held off the covering defender and finished calmly into the corner. It was the 43rd goal shipped by the Swabians this season, and that number could have been 44 seconds later but for Sven Ulreich’s smart stop to thwart Volland.

The miss mattered little, however, as a hapless Stuttgart continued to leave themselves exposed and Schipplock made sure of the points with a neat chip after being released by the effervescent Firmino. Antonio Rüdiger pulled a goal back for the beleaguered visitors, but a second yellow card shown to Moritz Leitner effectively killed off their challenge, with Firmino crashing in a late spot-kick to make it a satisfying day indeed for die Kraichgauer.

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Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Ludovic Obraniak's last-gasp strike helped SV Werder Bremen to their first point in 2014 at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Hoping to bounce back from a streak of five games without a win, Gladbach started promisingly, bossing the game in the early stages and carving out numerous chances against a Bremen team low on confidence after recording just one win in ten games.

It was a blunder in the Bremen defence that helped Gladbach take the lead early on, however, as Assani Lukimya's misplaced pass found Raffael, who kept his cool to send an assured finish past Raphael Wolf.

Obraniak to the rescue

Branimir Hrgota and Martin Stranzl then might have extended the lead for a Borussia side enjoying the lion's share of possession, and Lucien Favre's men almost saw their wasteful play punished shortly after the break. Bremen were rejuvenated after the restart and they came within a whisker of levelling matters on 49 minutes when Zlatko Junuzovic's effort bounced off the crossbar.

Raffael came close doubling Gladbach's lead near the hour-mark, but Werder refused to give in, throwing bodies forward in the dying stages in search of an equaliser. Their probing eventually paid dividends two minutes from time thanks to a beautifully chipped free-kick by Obraniak, ensuring that Gladbach remain without a league win in Bremen since 1987.

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Bernie Reeves/Felix Seaman-Höschele