2-1! Crucial home win over Cologne
HSV had an amazing time in the spring time sun on Saturday afternoon as it as an injury time winning goal by Lewis Holtby beat Cologne on Bundesliga matchday 26. It was HSV’s third straight home win and vital in their battle against relegation.
What a battle! It may have been April Fools Day but the home side were in no mood for jokes as they ground out a superb 2-1 win over top six side Cologne at the sold out Volksparkstadion in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon (01.04). The winning strike came from crowd favourite Lewis Holtby in injury time at the end of the game. Not for the faint of heart to say the least! The Rothosen took an early lead through Müller on 13 minutes. That lead did not last long though as the visitors fought back to equalise through Milos Jojic (25.). Four minutes from time Holtby netted with a spectacular bicycle kick only to be rightly ruled offside. Holtby who was playing his 300th game as a pro and had been going through a goal drought was in the right place at the right time to score a dramatic winning goal to finally break the stubborn Cologne resistance. The victory came after the home side won a battle of wills, refusing to give up until the final whistle was blown.
HSV coach Markus Gisdol once again rang the changes in the first game since the international break. International duo Ekdal and Sakai were on the bench at first . They were the last two players to report back for international duty. Gisdol also left regular left back Ostrzolek out of his team. Brazilian Douglas took his place opposite Diekmeier at the back. That defensive line up had their hands full from the off as the visitors took the game to their hosts. That early pressure produced the first chance of the game as 22-goal in form striker Anthony Modeste inside the opening 60 seconds of the game. The Frenchman (who played under Gisdol in Hoffenheim for two years) left everyone gasping as he missed an absolute sitter. Could it be HSV’s day? The home side began to get a foothold in the game after around 10 minutes and went one better than Modeste as Nicolai Müller slid the ball under advancing Cologne keeper Horn following excellent approach work involving Bobby Wood and Holtby (13.)
The similes on Hamburg faces did not last long. Cologne’s Clemens crossed the ball into the box. The whole home defence were caught watching only Modeste, allowing Jojic to steal in at the back to equalise from close range (25.). The huge capacity crowd were then treated to a feast of end to end stuff with goalmouth action at both ends. Cologne and their precision passing game always looked dangerous especially on the break. HSV however once again lacked accuracy and sometimes ideas in critical situations up front. The Rothosen however were a constant threat at set pieces. The game ended 1-1 at the break – about right on the balance of play.
The second half began with two half chances for HSV but much more worrying was how Müller sustained a nasty looking knee injury and had to be replaced by Gregoritsch after only 53 minutes. The substitute was involved in the creation of the best chance of the half 20 minutes later, superbly finding Holtby with a sweet through ball. The midfielder bore down on Cologne stopper Horn only to screw his effort wide. The previous 20 minutes were mainly both teams cancelling each other out in a very even game. There were no chances during that period as the teams seemed to take a slight breather after the action packed opening half.
Gregoritsch and Holtby were ever busy keeping Cologne’s back line on their toes. HSV were not prepared to settle for a solitrary point and continued to take the game to the visitors. The Hamburg midfield general pulling the strings was Holtby who was a ball of energy all game. The Rothosen layed siege to the Cologne area and moments after the sign showing three minutes of injury time had been raised Diekmeier crossed into the box but the ball was partially cleared before Kostic and Gregoritsch reached it. Holtby fired the rebound home to lift the roof of the Volksparkstadion. Things became a blur and as match referee Daniel Siebert ended the game the place went crazy as the team celebrated with the home crowd.
HSV: Adler - Diekmeier, Mavraj, Papadopoulos, Douglas - Walace (69. Sakai), Jung (46. Ekdal) - Müller (53. Gregoritsch), Holtby, Kostic - Wood
Cologne (1. FC Köln): T. Horn - Olkowski, Maroh (46. Heintz), Subotic, J. Hector - Höger, Jojic - Clemens (76. Guirassy), Rausch - Zoller, Modeste
Goals: 1:0 Müller (13.), 1:1 Jojic (25.), 2:1 Holtby (90+2)
Att: 57.000 (sold out)
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
Booked: Holtby (60.), Walace (67.) / Zoller (34.), Jojic (37.), Guirassy (77.)