Pohjanpalo the difference in Dresden for hard-fought HSV victory
Hamburger SV secured a vital three points in Dresden thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo's 84th-minute strike, the only goal of the game.
Hamburger SV bounced back to secure a much-needed and deserved victory at the Rudolf Harbig Stadion in Dresden on Friday (12th June), thanks to Joel Pohjanpalo's sixth goal in as many games since the resumption of league football. There was nothing to separate the two sides on the scoreboard at least at half-time, yet after a balanced opening to the game, the guests dominated proceedings without converting the pressure into dangerous efforts on Kevin Broll's goal. The Rothosen had a number of half-chances in the second period, but were finally able to break the deadlock eight minutes from time with Finnish striker Pohjanpalo in the right place at the right time to pass in from Tim Leibold's 19th assist of the season.
Goalless at the half as chances go begging
The HSV coaching staff made one change from the starting line-up that took to the field only four days earlier, with Bakery Jatta being replaced by Martin Harnik on the right wing. The game started at the same pace as the breathless 3-3 draw against Kiel, with both sides looking to make their mark on the game in the opening quarter of an hour. Ransford Königsdörffer had the best chance for the hosts after only four minutes, pouncing on Adrian Fein giving away possession in the middle of the park, but Aaron Hunt was back in time to clear the 18-year-old's dangerous cross away from waiting strike partner Makienok. New-man in the starting eleven Martin Harnik was making his presence felt, and had a flurry of chances, as first his volley was cleared off the line in the ninth minute by Chris Löwe, before David Kinsombi played a lovely ball round the corner, but the Austrian couldn't keep his shot down to trouble Kevin Broll in the Dresden net.
Dresden looked most dangerous from set-piece situations, particularly given Hamburg's frailties at those kind of situations throughout the season, with a dangerous free-kick from Patrick Ebert being cleared at the last minute by Rick van Drongelen in the 24th minute. From then on it was one-way traffic as Dynamo were too imprecise trying to clear their lines meaning there was almost no let-up for their defensive unit. Aaron Hunt played through to Martin Harnik, who, with his back to goal, spun beautifully to face Broll one-on-one but decided to try and find Sonny Kittel rather than shoot himself and the pass was intercepted. The guests were guilty of being too cute on a number of occasions, when Kittel himself should have had a shot when all alone 14 yards out, with the 27-year-old's pass also intercepted in the six-yard area. It was left to the former Ingolstadt man to test Broll with the final action of the first half, the second of two speculative attempts from the edge of the area which brought out a secure if unspectacular save from the Dresden stopper from the second. As it was, the teams couldn't be separated at the break, with the Black and Golds compact as a defensive unit and threatening on the counter, and the Rothosen ruing a number of high-quality chances to put themselves ahead.
Pohjanpalo gets sixth in six for the win
The guests picked up from where they had left off after the interval, as Dresden were barely able to leave their own penalty area for the first ten minutes of the half, yet once again without the clear goalscoring opportunities to show for it. Dresden became more effective at holding the ball up with Makienok and thus starting to take the sting out of the Hamburg attacks as the half wore on, which also began to break down down on the edge of the Dynamo box regularly. Substitute Bakery Jatta brought impetus from the bench down the left-hand side, testing Broll from tight angles on two occasions, once with his lesser-favoured left and once with his right, both of which were dealt with fairly easily by the Dresden stopper.
Joel Pohjanpalo had been quiet all game due to a lack of service but burst into life in the final quarter of an hour. Louis Schaub's attempted toepoke was heading way off target until the Finn directed the ball with his head onto the crossbar, the first real dangerous attempt from the Rothosen in the second period. And it was the Finn who continued his fine goalscoring streak in the 84th minute as Bakery Jatta slipped the ball through to Tim Leibold, who battled his way strongly past Hovarth, sliding the ball across the six-yard box to the waiting Pohjanpalo who passed in for his sixth in his last six games. Dynamo had been sinking deeper and deeper before the go-ahead goal, and now founding themselves behind had little energy and creativity left to truly threaten Julian Pollersbeck. The Rothosen played the closing stages a lot more cooly than in any of their displays since the restart, keeping the ball in the opposition half and securing a very important three points in the process after four minutes of injury time . Dieter Hecking will be looking to repeat the trick on Tuesday at home to VfL Osnabrück (kick-off 6:30pm CET).
Hamburger SV: Pollersbeck - Vagnoman (79' Gyamerah), Letschert, van Drongelen, Leibold - Fein - Hunt, Kinsombi (68' Schaub) - Harnik (79' Hinterseer), Pohjanpalo, Kittel (61' Jatta)
SG Dynamo Dresden: Broll - Kreuzer, Ehlers, Ballas, Löwe - Nikolaou (54' Müller), Ebert (78' Hartmann) - Schmidt (73' Terrazzino), Horvath - Königsdörffer (54' Jeremejeff), Makienok
Goals: 0-1 Pohjanpalo (84')
Spectators: unfortunately none
Referee: Robert Schröder (Hannover)
Yellow cards: Löwe (60'), Hartmann (90'+3) / van Drongelen (59')
Red cards: - / -