Mainz - Hamburger SV moved up to 14th in the Bundesliga – their highest position since Matchday 22 – thanks to a 2-1 win at Mainz on Matchday 31.
A Julian Baumgartlinger own goal put Hamburg ahead, but the visitors' lead was snatched from them by Mainz substitute Yunus Malli. Gojko Kacar was to have the final say, though, sealing their second successive Bundesliga win with a smart finish before Mainz's Daniel Broskinski was sent off late on.
Former Mainz forward Nicolai Müller was restored to the Hamburg starting XI in place of Zoltan Stieber, with perhaps a touch of nostalgia behind Labbadia's decision. Müller scored nine for the 05ers last season, yet he is stuck on only one for his current club this term.
However, he was involved in a neat move early on which ended with Pierre-Michel Lasogga sending a determined header just over the crossbar, but the pendulum soon swung back in the hosts' favour with Rene Adler becoming the busier of the two goalkeepers. The 30-year-old had to be at full stretch to turn a Baumgartlinger shot wide with the Mainz defender going close to his first ever Bundesliga goal.
Soto blow and own-goal misery
Shortly after Malli was brought on to replace the injured Elkin Soto, Mainz fell behind as Baumgartlinger's long-awaited goal finally arrived, albeit at the wrong end. He got his head to Heiko Westermann's intended cross, giving the ball a wicked trajectory beyond the reach of Loris Karius as it dropped into the far corner.
It was a cruel way to fall behind, but nobody in a black shirt was complaining. Instead, it gave Hamburg the confidence they had been lacking and Ivo Ilicevic took a dip at Karius' goal, finding the Mainz custodian on guard to punch away. A Gojko Kacar header then landed straight in Karius' arms as Hamburg looked to turn the screw as soon as possible in the second half.
Post, then in
Lasogga tried to add to the brace he bagged last weekend, but Karius was again alert to the danger, keeping Mainz in the game with a smart stop. At the other end, Ja-Cheol Koo's low shot hit the outside of the left-hand upright, giving the hosts renewed belief and getting the Coface Arena faithful back on their feet, urging their team on.
It worked with Malli providing a cool finish to Jairo Samperio's pass, bringing Mainz level in the 76th minute with his sixth goal of the season – all falling in 2015. There was to be a final twist in the tale, though, as Kacar fired HSV back in front to spark wild celebrations in the away section of the Arena. A late red card for Brosinski rounded off a dismal day for Mainz, whose Europa League qualification hopes are hanging by a thread.
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