The Red Shorts got off to the worst possible start against the Carnival club when Colombian midfielder Elkin Soto capitalised on an error by HSV defender Heiko Westermann to finish past Rene Adler, but Pierre-Michel Lasogga headed home the equaliser less than five minutes later after Loris Karius had parried Rafael van der Vaart’s effort into the path of the 21-year-old. The visitors seemed to draw confidence from Lasogga’s strike and twice went close to taking the lead before the interval, but van der Vaart and Michael Mancienne were denied by Soto and Karius respectively.
Malli restores Mainz’s lead
Mirko Slomka’s side had Rene Adler to thank for keeping the visitors on level terms with two saves in quick succession from Zdenek Pospech and Johannes Geis, before Lasogga went close to doubling his personal tally for the afternoon with a sumptuous effort which curled just wide of the target. Adler could do little to prevent Yunus Malli restoring the hosts’ lead after 65 minutes, the 22-year-old firing low into the bottom corner from Ja-Cheol Koo’s pass.
Shinji Okazaki extended Mainz’s advantage with his 15th goal of the season eight minutes from time, before Ivo Ilicevic pulled a goal back for HSV in the dying stages. Slomka’s charges were unable to salvage a draw, but defeats for both Eintracht Braunschweig and and 1. FC Nürnberg mean Hamburg will now enter a two-legged play-off with the third-placed team from Bundesliga 2, which will determine their Bundesliga future.
Line-ups and statistics