Letschert rescues point for 10-man Hamburg in Kiel
Timo Letschert's injury-time equaliser salvaged a point for Hamburg away at Holstein Kiel, after Janni Serra's first-half goal for the Storks.
Timo Letschert's first goal for Hamburg was enough to salvage a dramatic point in Kiel on Saturday (9th November). Bakery Jatta's 26th-minute red card meant the Rothosen were playing for over an hour with 10 men, and their task became all the more difficult in the 44th minute when Janni Serra gave the Storks a deserved lead. In a second half lacking in goalmouth action, Kiel began to drift deeper and deeper despite their man advantage. The Rothosen came on strongly with the game entering injury time, enjoying a host of chances, with Dutchman Letschert profiting from some slack Kiel defending to hammer home an injury-time equaliser from a corner.
Serra punishes 10-man Hamburg
Hamburg entered the game with an unchanged lineup from the team that had drawn away at Wehen Wiesbaden a week previously. Dieter Hecking's side came roaring out of the blocks, looking to atone for that disappointing draw in Hessen, and had the ball in the net with three minutes played through Lukas Hinterseer, only for the goal to be correctly ruled out for offside in the build-up. The ferocious tempo to the game did not relent after the opening period, with the Rothosen having Daniel Heuer Fernandes to thank that the game was still level after a quarter of an hour. Lee's cut-back could only be cleared by Tim Leibold as far as Emmanuel Iyoha eight yards out, but the Hamburg goalkeeper was quick off his line to make himself big and deflect the 22-year-old's effort over the bar with his foot.
The first flash point of the game came in the 26th minute, with Bakery Jatta given his marching orders after going straight through the back of Salih Özcan, as Dieter Hecking had to react to the Rothosen's first red card of the season. The 54-year-old's charges reacted well to going a man down, as Jeremy Dudziak covered even more ground on the right-hand side, and Hamburg continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession. Kiel had a goal of their own ruled out after Özcan needlessly touched Lee's effort, with Rick van Drongelen having been unlikely to save the South Korean's effort with Daniel Heuer Fernandes beaten. Just as it looked like Hamburg would make it to half-time unscathed, Kiel got the goal that had been coming. Rick van Drongelen gave the ball away in a promising position, but it looked like Gideon Jung would be able to cut out Alexander Mühling's pass to Janni Serra. The Hamburg centre-back slipped at the crucial moment, meaning the ball found its way to Serra, who coolly slotted past Heuer Fernandes to give Kiel the half-time lead.
Letschert makes Storks pay in injury time
Dieter Hecking made a tactical switch-up at half-time, with Sonny Kittel joining Lukas Hinterseer up front, in a 4-3-2 formation. The change helped to shore up the visitor's defence, with Kiel not looking nearly as threatening as at the end of the first period. That being said, the Storks were dominant in possession, slowly tiring the Rothosen out, content to play the ball around amongst themselves, and not riskinng too many men forward in attack. Kiel's dominance with the ball did not result in any goalmouth action, failing to string a number of meaningful passes together, whilst, despite fresh impetus from the bench, Hamburg couldn't do much with the little of the ball that they did see.
As the clock ticked towards full-time, Kiel became more and more content to hit the ball long and wait for a Hamburg mistake, giving the Rothosen hope heading into the final knockings, enjoying more possession and territory. As the four minutes of alloted injury time began, Khaled Narey had two efforts expertly blocked by Kiel defenders, before the third corner in a row was not dealt with by Kiel 'keeper Gelios. The Greek goalkeeper's flapping attempt at a second clearance fell to Timo Letschert eight yards out, who hammered home on the volley to give Hamburg an equaliser that had been coming. The Storks will be kicking themselves that they let their rivals back into the game, as they were coasting with ten minutes to go, as Hamburg tired. However, as the game entered injury time, they sank further and further back, with Hamburg's equaliser a result of a dominant end spurt to the game in an otherwise forgettable second half. The fight and determination shown by Dieter Hecking's side to gain a point after 65 minutes with one less outfield player should be highly commended, and shall certainly be seen as a point gained by all in the Hamburg camp.
Holstein Kiel: Gelios - Neumann (63' Todorovic), Wahl, Thesker, Seo - Meffert, Mühling, Özcan - Iyoha (82' Schmidt), Serra, Lee
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes - Narey, Jung, van Drongelen (74' Letschert), Leibold - Fein - Kinsombi (74' Moritz), Dudziak - Jatta, Hinterseer, Kittel (66' Wood)
Goals: 1-0 Serra (44'), 1-1 Letschert (90')
Attendance: 15,000 (sold out)
Referee: Christian Dingert (Lebecksmühle)
Yellow cards: Neumann (32'), Thesker (90') / Jung (90')
Red cards: - / Jatta (26')