Hamburg - Hamburger SV left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to SC Freiburg and remain ahead of their relegation rivals with only two games of the season remaining.
Admir Mehmedi gave Freiburg the lead in the first half and Christian Streich's men appeared to be good value for all three points until Gojko Kacar, with his heart on his sleeve, headed Hamburg level in the last minute for what could prove to be a crucial point in the relegation dogfight.
Boosted by recent back-to-back victories, Hamburg started promisingly, dominating the early exchanges at the Imtech Arena. Zoltan Stieber forced Roman Bürki into a first test two minutes in, the Swiss goalkeeper denying Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s left-footed effort a little later, but it was Felix Klaus at the other end who should have broken the deadlock, missing a sitter with only Rene Adler to beat.
That attack nevertheless gave Freiburg belief, and they shook off their early nerves and started to take the game to their hosts. Their reward was the opening goal, after just one more scare at the other end. Bürki made a fine reflex save to deny Stieber before launching the ball forward for Karim Guede to knock on for Mehmedi, who hammered the ball into the back of the net.
Bad omens for Hamburg
It was a spectacular way to take the lead, and it seemed a crucial advantage for Freiburg's morale, considering that Hamburg had only once managed to recover from falling 1-0 behind this season, losing 16 and drawing one. It was also the 2,500th goal the Bundesliga evergreens have conceded in their top-flight history.
Goal 2,501 very nearly arrived after the break as Freiburg looked to turn the screw with Mehmedi testing Adler twice in quick succession, his second effort needing a fine save at his near post from the former Germany custodian to keep HSV in the game. Vladimir Darida and Klaus also stung Adler's palms as Freiburg increased the intensity of their attacks.
A Lewis Holtby shot which was deflected wide and a Kacar effort that just would not get through a mass rank of players was all Hamburg could muster, while Nils Petersen saw his close-range shot blocked by Johan Djourou's desperate lunge back at the other end.
Rafael van der Vaart brought a melodramatic save out of Bürki with a direct free-kick, but the Freiburg goalkeeper was punished moments later when he flapped at rather than punched the ball away after a van der Vaart corner. The ball looped up for a determined Kacar to rise and head Hamburg level, grabbing a crucial draw which keeps Bruno Labbadia's men a point ahead of their guests with two games to play this season.
Line-ups and statistics