HSV have to settle with goalless stalemate against Bielefeld
Neither the first or second-placed team in the 2. Bundesliga were able to get on the scoreboard, as the top-of-the-table clash at the Volksparkstadion ended goalless.
Hamburger SV were unable to make inroads on Arminia Bielefeld's seven-point lead at the top of the 2. Bundesliga on Sunday (24th May), failing to convert a number of high-quality chances at the start of either half. The home side saw three good chances go begging in the opening quarter of an hour as part of a fast start, with few chances following in the first half as Arminia grew into the game as the half wore on. Joel Pohjanpalo and Sonny Kittel had two inviting opportunities inside the first three minutes of the second half, before Tim Leibold enjoyed the best chance of the game in the 67th minute, smacking his header against the left-hand upright. Impressive Bielefeld 'keeper Ortega was equal to all efforts on his goal, and will be happy to travel back to Ostwestfalen with a clean sheet and his club's lead at the top of the table intact.
Nothing to separate the teams after strong Hamburg start
After the last-minute sucker punch in Fürth with Havard Nielsen's late equaliser for the hosts, Dieter Hecking rung the changes for the clash with first-placed Arminia, as Jordan Beyer, Bakery Jatta and Jairo Samperio made way for Rick van Drongelen, Martin Harnik and Sonny Kittel. The changes seemed to make a difference, with the home side coming roaring out of the blocks. Fabian Kunze's slip saw Joel Pohjanpalo through on goal with only five minutes played, but Stefan Ortega in the Bielefeld goal stood tall and managed to deflect the ball away with his toe for a Hamburg corner. Martin Harnik had two chances to put the Rothosen ahead soon after, with Stefan Ortega equal to his efforts after a lightning-quick counter-attack and a long ball which both found their way to the Austrian.
After three big chances to go ahead in a dominating opening quarter of an hour, Bielefeld grew into the game and were able to show the qualities that see them sit at the summit of the 2. Bundesliga. Cebio Soukou managed to retrieve a ball that seemed all but lost, playing it back to Fabian Klos for the visitor's first notable chance of the game, which Daniel Heuer Fernandes in the Hamburg goal was able to gather at the second attempt. In the final quarter of an hour of the first half, inaccurate passing led to moves for both sides breaking down. The home side looked more confident in possession, with a patient build-up leading to an effort from Aaron Hunt from 25 yards, which Ortega in the Bielefeld goal was able to get his body behind. After a fast start from the hosts, the final half an hour of the first half had been fairly equal, with few real chances of note for either side.
Compact Bielefeld able to secure clean sheet
The Rothosen started the half strongly again, with two chances inside the first three minutes after the restart. Sonny Kittel's sweet left-footed volley flew just past Ortega's right-hand post, before Joel Pohjanpalo should have done better when Kittel's cross was deflected into his path at the back post, only able to send his header a good three yards wide of the post. After the flurry of early chances straight after the break, Bielefeld became a lot more solid, unable to gain a foothold in the game in an attacking sense but very compact, with little room for HSV to play between the lines. The Rothosen were unable to fashion any goalscoring opportunities, before Tim Leibold should have put the home side ahead in the 67th minute. Martin Harnik's tantalising left-footed cross curled its way onto the left-back's head at the far post, with the 26-year-old only able to direct his header onto the post with the goal at his mercy.
Leibold's header was to be the last clear-cut chance of the game. Uwe Neuhaus brought on two attacking changes but Arminia still stayed relatively harmless as an attacking force. Their four corners were well defended by the Rothosen, whilst the visitor's passing game wasn't accurate or lively enough to pull the HSV defence out of position and create any chances from open play. Hamburg controlled the majority of the ball but were also let down by a lack of incision in the final third, not able to build any pressure on Stefan Ortega's goal. When the final whistle blew, Uwe Neuhaus will have been the happier of the two managers, not only due to the seven-point advantage which his side managed to maintain, but also as the home side had the better chances over the 90 minutes and should have taken all three points. Dieter Hecking's charges will have to try their luck against VfB Stuttgart on Thursday evening in another important game in the battle for promotion.
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes – Vagnoman, Letschert, van Drongelen, Leibold – Fein – Harnik (76' Jatta), Hunt, Dudziak (60' Kinsombi), Kittel - Pohjanpalo (60' Hinterseer)
DSC Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega - Kunze (73' Schipplock), Pieper, Nilsson, Hartherz - Prietl, Weihrauch, Hartel - Soukou (65' Voglsammer), Klos, Yabo (65' Clauss)
Spectators: unfortunately none
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
Yellow cards: Pohjanpalo (42') / Schipplock (86')
Red cards: - / -