HSV defender Cleber Reis broke the deadlock in the first half, before Rafael van der Vaart doubled the hosts’ advantage from the penalty spot after Nikolce Noveski had handled the ball inside the area. Shinji Okazaki pulled a goal back for Mainz, but Hamburg rode their luck late on to lift themselves out of trouble and to within a point of Kasper Hjulmand’s charges in the league table.
Hamburg on top
Josef Zinnbauer’s side had collected six points from their previous four league matches, but went into Matchday 14’s penultimate encounter still entrenched in the bottom three. HSV started brightly against die Nullfünfer, however, and Pierre-Michel Lasogga could have given the hosts an early lead when Lewis Holtby was brought down on the edge of the penalty area, but the striker’s free-kick was blocked by the Mainz wall.
Cleber Reis then failed to get a touch on Rafael van der Vaart’s in-swinging free-kick from the right-hand side, but moments after Nicolai Müller had been foiled by some last-ditch Mainz defending, the Brazilian defender made amends for his earlier miss by lashing home an unstoppable shot to give Zinnbauer’s charges a deserved lead.
The 24-year-old’s strike - his first goal in the Bundesliga - was also the first scored by a Hamburg defender this season, but the summer signing from Corinthians seemed hungry for more as he fired a speculative effort wide of Loris Karius’ goal only moments later. Müller then saw another effort trickle wide from a tight angle as Hamburg ended the half in the ascendancy.
They began the second period in similar fashion, with Artjoms Rudnevs flashing a mis-hit effort over the crossbar within minutes of the restart. The Latvian striker then did well to find Lasogga at the back post with a teasing cross, but the former Hertha Berlin star was unable to direct his looping header on target.
Okazaki pulls one back
With 52 minutes on the clock, Hamburg were gifted a glorious opportunity to double their lead when Noveski was adjudged to have blocked Lasogga’s right-wing cross with his hand. Up stepped van der Vaart, who calmly sent Karius the wrong way to net his third of the campaign and give die Rothosen breathing space. Rudnevs could have made it 3-0 moments later, but his shot was well saved by the onrushing Karius.
Hjulmand’s side were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but it took the visitors until the 63rd minute to finally register a shot on target, Sami Allagui forcing a fine save out of Jaroslav Drobny with a snap-shot from inside the area. A late Okazaki header gave Mainz hope, but they failed to find an equaliser and remain without a victory in the league since Matchday 8.
Line-ups and statistics