Hamburg - Hakan Calhanoglu inspired Hamburger SV to a deserved 2-1 win in Sunday’s relegation six-pointer as the Red Shorts moved above 1. FC Nürnberg in the Bundesliga standings.
The 20-year-old had ten shots on goal - a season record - with his eighth breaking Nürnberg’s stubborn resistance. Mike Frantz’s own goal helped HSV over the line, although Josip Drmic’s stoppage-time strike ensured that a fantastic game ended in a suitably exciting manner.
Nürnberg were on the end of a 5-0 thrashing when they hosted Hamburg earlier in the season, a result that proved to be the final game in charge for previous head coach Michael Wiesinger. Intent on exacting their revenge this time around, der Club started at a ferocious pace and came close to an opener inside the first minute as Markus Feulner sent a weak shot wide of the post following a determined run by Drmic.
The opening stages of the game had belonged to the visitors in terms of possession, but Hamburg retained a distinct threat from set pieces, particularly with a nervous-looking Raphael Schäfer guarding the away goal. Jacques Zoua twice squandered chances from set piece deliveries, either side of Schäfer distinguishing himself with an agile save from a powerful Calhanoglu drive.
HSV on top
Meanwhile, Feulner had struck the outside of the post - the 21st time that Nürnberg had hit the woodwork this term - before Calhanoglu tested the away keeper with another long-range drive. The chances were coming thick and fast as Ivo Ilicevic skewed a volley wide and Zoua scuffed an effort off the post before the half-time whistle blew, allowing the crowd to draw breath after an opening 45 minutes that had everything. Except goals.
In the same way the first period had ended, the second half began at full tilt and again it was Calhanoglu taking the game by the scruff of the neck in an attempt to bring HSV in front. He forced another good save from Schäfer with a low free-kick and then sent in a delightful delivery that eluded everyone to drift just wide of the far post.
The frustration was getting to the home supporters, particularly when Javier Pinola cleared Zoua's attempt off the line and Schäfer denied Ilicevic with another superb stop. Finally, however, the deadlock was broken and it was fitting that Calhanoglu should be the man to do it, his deflected effort looping up and into the net. It was his eighth attempt on goal in the game and it left Gertjan Verbeek's men ruing Hiroshi Kiyotake’s blocked shot when one-on-one with Rene Adler a minute before.
Tired Nürnberg legs then suddenly began cropping up all over the pitch and when Frantz put through his own net four minutes from time, their defeat looked to be set in stone. Incredibly, though, the Franconians came within a fingertip save of stealing a wholly unlikely point in stoppage time. HSV’s clean sheet disappeared when Drmic, largely anonymous until that point, fired in a near-post strike, before Adler produced an outstanding save to push substitute Jose Campana’s free-kick over the bar in the last action of an enthralling game.
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