Goalless stalemate in Düsseldorf to begin Rückrunde
HSV's unbeaten run stretched to eight games with a draw against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The second round of fixtures in the 2. Bundesliga started with a goalless draw at the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Tuesday night (26th January), neither Fortuna Düsseldorf or Hamburger SV able to break the deadlock and land a telling blow in the race for promotion. The visitors looked the more likely in the opening 45 but didn't threaten Florian Kastenmeier's goal on enough occasions given their impressive build-up play and aggressive pressing. The momentum slowly swung after the break, Fortuna coming more into the game as time wore on, denied a decisive three points twice in the closing minutes by the superb Sven Ulreich.
All square at the break
Daniel Thioune was forced into one change in the starting line-up, the returning Jan Gyamerah replacing the injured Josha Vagnoman, and making a tactical change, Khaled Narey starting the game ahead of Bakery Jatta. The Rothosen, all in white, carried on from where they had left off on Saturday in Braunschweig, controlling possession and looking most threatening when playing down the wings. Khaled Narey had the best chance of the opening period, a cross down the middle of the field by the energetic Sonny Kittel finding the 26-year-old, but Narey was unable to get enough contact on his header, Düsseldorf goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier able to save with his feet. The middle of the first half saw a period of domination for HSV, pressing their hosts high up the pitch and forcing mistakes after losing possession, Stephan Ambrosius in particular not letting the Düsseldorf attackers onto the ball.
Fortuna found it difficult to get going, pressed into kicking long and hopeful when in possession, struggling to get into their rhythm. Turkish international Kenan Karaman looked most likely for the hosts, firing a warning shot across the bows in the 35th minute before heading a Thomas Pledl free-kick into the arms of a grateful Sven Ulreich for the last play of the half. For all of the precise passing and wingplay, the two sides went into the break with the same amount of shots on target, the Rothosen looking to turn their strong tactical showing into goals after the break.
Ulreich saves a point at the death
The hosts were more active after the break, pressing HSV more aggressively and higher up the pitch, resulting in a more equal encounter, Fortuna captain Andre Hoffmann coming closest ten minutes after the restart with a header from a corner going just over the bar. Neither team was able to stamp their authority on the second half, a very balanced game developing, the Rothosen struggling to get into their passing rhythm which had proved so threatening in the opening 45 minutes, Simon Terodde's glancing header from a Narey cross the only goalmouth action of note from the visitors after the break.
Fortuna looked most like breaking the deadlock from set-piece situations as legs tired on both sides having played at the weekend. Thomas Pledl's right-footed deliveries were proving difficult for the HSV defence to deal with, and would see the Flingeraner ratchet up the pressure heading into the final ten minutes, substitute Bobby Wood doing well to head away for a corner with Karaman waiting to pounce behind him. The Rothosen had Sven Ulreich to thank that they travelled back to Hamburg with a point, the last action of the game seeing another Pledl free-kick headed accurately towards goal by Krajnc, but the ex-Bayern stopper extended himself to claw the ball out of the top corner and extend his team's unbeaten run. The Englische Woche comes to a close for HSV on Saturday (kick-off 1:00pm CET) at the Volksparkstadion against SC Paderborn.
Fortuna Düsseldorf: Kastenmeier - M. Zimmermann, Hoffmann, Danso, Krajnc - Morales, Sobottka, Pledl, Peterson (46' Borrello) - Karaman, Kownacki (76' Hennings)
Hamburger SV: Ulreich - Gyamerah (56' Onana), Leistner, Ambrosius, Leibold - Kinsombi (77.Hunt), Heyer, Dudziak (86' Wintzheimer) - Narey, Terodde (77' Wood), Kittel (86' Jatta)
Spectators: unfortunately none
Referee: Benjamin Cortus (Röthenbach an der Pegnitz)
Yellow cards: Hoffmann (10'), Danso (47'), Sobottka (58') / Kittel (45'), Ambrosius (73'), Leibold (90')
Red cards: - / -