Fürth - Hamburger SV’s status as the only ever-present club in the Bundesliga's 51-year history remains intact after Mirko Slomka’s side drew 1-1 with Greuther Fürth in the second leg of their relegation play-off at the Trolli Arena.
Quick out of the blocks
HSV took the lead through Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s first-half header, before Stephan Fürstner equalised for the hosts with half an hour remaining. Fürth poured forward in the closing stages but Hamburg held on by the skin of their teeth to secure their place in next season’s top flight on away goals.
Seeking his first victory on the road since guiding Hannover 96 to a 3-2 success at Fürth in April 2013, HSV coach Mirko Slomka made three changes to the team that were held to a goalless draw by the Clover Leaves in Thursday’s first-leg, with Heiko Westermann, Tolgay Arslan and Marcell Jansen coming into the side. The visitors began brightly and created the first notable chance of the match when Lasogga volleyed over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
The Red Shorts continued to dominate and took a deserved lead on 14 minutes. Moments after Hakan Calhanoglu had sidefooted against the post and Fürth keeper Wolfgang Hesl had tipped Arslan’s ambitious effort over the crossbar, Lasogga met Rafael van der Vaart’s resulting corner with a bullet header, which left the former HSV stopper grasping at thin air as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Fürstner gives Fürth hope
Calhanoglu, who had scored four goals from direct free-kicks during the regular Bundesliga season, bent a dead ball over the bar from a promising position, before Hamburg centre-back Johan Djourou was carried off on a stretcher following an aerial challenge with Fürth striker Ilir Azemi. Michael Mancienne came on in Djourou’s place and the Englishman was involved immediately, clearing a Zoltan Stieber corner before an opposition player could pounce on the loose ball. Azemi could have then restored parity before half-time, but the Kosovan’s effort curled just wide of the post.
Fürth had Hesl to thank for keeping the Clover Leaves in the game when the 28-year-old pulled off a point-blank stop from another Lasogga header six minutes into the second half. The save proved crucial, as midfielder Fürstner latched onto a sublime through ball by Stieber just before the hour mark to slot in the equaliser past the onrushing Jaroslav Drobny.
HSV hold on
The goal seemed to derail HSV, who had looked comfortable for the majority of the contest up to that point, and, roared on by their vociferous fans, Fürth suddenly sensed blood and continued to push forward in search of a second . Drobny had to be alert to punch Stieber’s long-range effort out of harm’s way, before the former Czech Republic keeper denied the predatory Azemi with a comfortable save.
The Franconians continued to pin HSV back inside their own half as the game drew to a close, with Daniel Brosinski forcing a brilliant one-handed save from Drobny with six minutes remaining. The veteran keeper then came to HSV’s rescue once again in the dying seconds, this time tipping Mergim Mavraj’s goal-bound header over the crossbar, a save that secured HSV’s place in next season’s top-flight in the process and ensures they will compete in the 52nd Bundesliga campaign in 2014/15.
Fürth: Hesl - Brosinski, Röcker, Mavraj, Baba - Fürstner, Sparv (Sukalo 78') - Weilandt, Stieber - Azemi, Djurdjic (Füllkrug 72')
Hamburg: Drobny - Diekmeier, Djourou (Mancienne 31'), Westermann, Jansen - Arslan (Rincon 64'), Badelj - Calhanoglu, van der Vaart (Tesche 75'), Jiracek - Lasogga