Lewis Holtby's third goal in four games gave second-bottom Hamburg a vital 1-0 win in their basement battle against fellow strugglers Freiburg at the Volksparkstadion.
Hamburg 1-0 Freiburg
Goals: 1-0 Holtby (54')
Red card: Söyüncü (71')
The Red Shorts were nearing the last chance saloon going into this game, but they made a positive start against the side they hoped to drag deeper into the relegation mire. Tatsuya Ito flashed an early ball across the six-yard box and Filip Kostic drew a yellow card from Caglar Söyüncü, who endured a very nervy opening half-hour.
The visitors slowly got to grips with the game, however, and Julian Pollersbeck pulled off a great double save to thwart Tim Kleindienst. As the interval approached, Hamburg were a bag of nerves all of a sudden, and Pollersbeck again spread himself to deny Nils Petersen when the forward looked certain to score, before Janik Haberer’s shot was blocked after the hosts conceded possession cheaply.
Christian Titz’s side made the most of those reprieves and Freiburg paid for their profligacy, with Holtby prodding in the opening goal nine minutes into the second half. The goal got the crowd off their feet and the hosts had the bit between their teeth, snapping into tackles and giving Freiburg no time on the ball. Söyüncü made one error too many when he body-checked Kostic and was shown a second yellow card, and though Hamburg rode their luck, they showed admirable spirit to see out a potentially season-saving win.
They now trail the play-off spot by five points with nine left to play for, while Freiburg, one place ahead of HSV and who have now lost five on the trot, desperately need to rediscover that winning feeling.
- The win takes HSV to within five points of the relegation play-off spot with games against Wolfsburg (a), Eintracht Frankfurt (a) and Borussia Mönchengladbach (h) to come.Holtby has scored three of Hamburg's six goals under Titz.HSV's 18-year-old striker Jann-Fiete Arp became the first millennial to score in the Bundesliga earlier in the season, but is currently without a goal in 15 appearances.Based on the last six games, Freiburg sit bottom of the Bundesliga form table with just one point.Freiburg's Mike Frantz made his first league appearance since suffering knee ligament damage against Schalke on 4 November 2017.Petersen has scored four goals in 11 career appearances against Hamburg, but only one in five meetings as a Freiburg player.Streich has faced Hamburg 11 times as Freiburg coach, winning three, drawing six and losing twice. The 52-year-old was unbeaten in his last six against the northern club before this game.
Hamburg: Pollersbeck – Diekmeier, Jung, Papadopoulos, Sakai (c) – Steinmann (Ekdal 74') - Kostic, Waldschmidt (Wood 56'), Holtby, Ito (Jatta 87') - Hunt
Unused subs: Mathenia, Arp, Salihovic, van Drongelen
Absentees: Douglas Santos (suspended), Mavraj and Walace (not considered), Müller (ankle), Schipplock (pulled muscle)
Coach: Christian Titz
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler, Söyüncü, Gulde, Günter - Höler (Frantz 64'), Höfler, Schuster (Koch 77'), Haberer (Kath 69') - Petersen (c), Kleindienst
Unused subs: Gikiewicz, Stenzel, Kempf, Guede
Absentees: Niedermeier and Ignjovski (not considered), Stanko (knee), Abrashi (knee), Ravet (calf), Niederlechner (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich