Substitute Artjoms Rudnevs put the hosts ahead late on before Raphael Wolf turned the ball over his own line in stoppage time to seal a much-needed win for Hamburg after Bremen's Clemens Fritz had been sent off.
Tight and tense
Mohamed Gouaida went straight into the Hamburg team after being included in the first-team squad for only the first time by Viktor Skripnik, and he very nearly marked his debut with a goal, testing Raphael Wolf moments after Heiko Westermann had flicked Rafael van der Vaart's free-kick just over the crossbar.
Assani Lukimya, making his first start since the 6-0 defeat at FC Bayern München, had the first effort on goal at the other end as Bremen tried to free themselves from some sustained early pressure. They succeeded in stemming the flow of HSV attacks as the half wore on, although the hosts did manage to break again before the interval with Lewis Holtby shooting straight at Wolf.
Nicolai Müller went close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half, but his effort was saved as both defences remained on top. It seemed like a bit of magic or creativity was going to be required to make a breakthrough, and Zlatko Junuzovic nearly obliged with a curling free-kick which was plucked out of the top corner by a full-stretch Drobny.
Both coaches tried to shuffle things up with Skripnik sending Cedrick Makiadi into the action and Hamburg's Artjoms Rudnevs entering the fray. The game remained confined to the central third, however, with none of the new protagonists having the desired effect on proceedings.
Leaving it late
Davie Selke was Skripnik's next throw of the dice and the UEFA European Under-19 Championship winner and top-scorer got straight into the derby spirit with a crunching tackle on Dennis Diekmeier. Bremen certainly seemed to be lacking the goals of their injured top-scorer Franco Di Santo, and it was a defender who went closest to scoring for them with 12 minutes left.
Santiago Garcia rose to meet a corner and his stooping header was palmed away at full stretch by Drobny before a mistake gave HSV a deserved lead. Lukimya unwittingly nodded the ball into the danger area and Rudnevs stuck out a leg and managed to turn the ball in. Bremen, who lost Fritz to a second yellow card, threw everybody forward and were hit by a sucker punch when Lasogga set up Tolgay Arslan, whose shot came back off the post and rolled along the line where it was turned in by the unfortunate Wolf.
Line-ups and statistics