Hamburg - Rene Adler thwarted former club Bayer 04 Leverkusen as they were held to a hard-fought goalless draw against a resolute Hamburger SV side.
The hosts had Leverkusen on the back foot in the opening exchanges, but after quelling the early pressure, Bayer 04 soon assumed control of proceedings. The encounter was bereft of clear-cut goalscoring chances at either end until Kyriakos Papadopoulos met Julian Brandt’s free-kick shortly before the hour mark. Rene Adler produced a fine save and Hamburg again had the former Leverkusen No.1 to thank for keeping the scores level at the break when his sharp reflexes were enough to keep out Brandt’s close-range half volley.
The intensity of the encounter showed no signs of abating after the restart, but it was HSV who registered almost as many shots on goal inside the first five minutes (3) as they had in the whole first half, the best chance falling to Aaron Hunt who failed to get the better of Bernd Leno one-on-one. The challenges continued to fly in as the chances dried up and, though both sides threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, neither could find the breakthrough.
Man of the match
Both sides kept clean sheets and both goalkeepers made important saves to ensure that was the case. However, the part Rene Adler played in thwarting his former club - making three top-class saves - was reminiscent of the days when he was Germany’s No.1.
Rene Adler can take some credit, but Leverkusen head coach Roger Schmidt will have to ask himself whether playing two up front is really the way to solve his side’s goalscoring issues. Javier Hernandez is a step ahead of his team-mates at all times, while Stefan Kießling is comfortably off the pace. Eight goals in nine games is simply not good enough.
- Hamburg picked up more than two bookings before the break for the first time this season.
Hamburg: Adler - Diekmeier, Djourou, Spahic, Ostrzolek - Ekdal, Holtby - N. Müller, Hunt, Ilicevic - Lasogga
Leverkusen: Leno - Donati, Tah, Papadopoulos, Boenisch - Bellarabi, Kramer, Toprak, Brandt - Kießling, Hernandez