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.
Line-ups and statistics