Rothosen turn it around in style for first away win since August
Tim Leibold, Joel Pohjanpalo and Sonny Kittel were on the scoresheet as Hamburg came from 1-0 down to beat VfL Bochum 3-1.
Simon Zoller's 65th minute opener kicked Hamburger SV into life on Monday night (3rd February), as three goals followed inside twenty second-half minutes to turn the game around and secure Hamburg's first away win since the 4-2 win over Karlsruhe back in August. After an impressive showing against Nuremberg last Thursday, the familiar troubles away from home returned for the Rothosen in the first half, struggling to break down a well-organised and physical Bochum side. And it looked like the winless run away from home would continue when Zoller put the hosts in front in the 65th minute with a curling effort from the edge of the area. Yet the Rothosen were on level terms inside two minutes, before Joel Pohjanpalo's first goal for the club put the Hamburg side ahead and Sonny Kittel sealed the deal in the 87th minute with his eleventh goal of the season.
Fein hits post as Hamburg take time to get going
After dispatching Nuremberg by four goals to one on Thursday, Dieter Hecking trusted exactly the same starting XI in the well-used 4-3-3 formation, with Adrian Fein sitting behind Louis Schaub and Jeremy Dudziak. The strong start against Nuremberg wasn't to be seen this time around though, with the Rothosen needing time to get accustomed to the physical approach from the deep-lying home side. The hosts had the first real chance of the game when a long ball fell to Tom Weilandt, who cleverly found Vitaly Janelt with a reverse pass, but the former HSV man's effort was smartly saved by Daniel Heuer Fernandes in the tenth minute. Hamburg slowly found their way into the game, with diagonal balls from Timo Letschert and Rick van Drongelen proving to be the most effective way to beat the Bochum press. One of these searching balls opened space on the left-hand side for Sonny Kittel and Tim Leibold, with the latter finding Jeremy Dudziak inside the eighteen yard box. Dudziak was tackled but the ball fell to Sonny Kittel, whose effort was blocked over the bar as Vitaly Janelt heroically threw his body in front of the ball.
Hamburg top-scorer Kittel had the next chance of the game only four minutes later in the 31st minute, with Bochum unable to free themselves from the Hamburg press, giving the ball back to Louis Schaub in a promising position. The on-loan Austrian's whipped cross could only be cleared as far as Kittel at the back post, but the 27-year-old's left-footed effort on the volley flew harmlessly past debutant Drewes in the Bochum goal. It was another whipped delivery from Schaub that saw Hamburg go closest to the opener, as the Cologne man's free-kick was headed out to Adrian Fein, who took one touch before poking a right-footed effort at goal that struck the right-hand upright from all of ten yards out. The Rothosen certainly improved as the half went on, but failed to move the ball quickly enough to unsettle the deep-lying Bochum defence, or match the intensity of their hosts in the challenge.
Zoller opener kickstarts Rothosen fightback
Relegation-threatened Bochum once again started the half the stronger of the two teams, as Simon Zoller escaped from his marker Rick van Drongelen to receive the ball from Weilandt in the 52nd minute. The Hamburg captain made amends for his mistake, catching up and blocking the Bochum right-winger's effort which was destined to nestle in the bottom right-hand corner of the Hamburg goal. The warning signs were not heeded by the Rothosen as another long ball caused problems for the guests, as Ganvoula flicked on to the unmarked Zoller in the 65th minute. The 28-year-old drove across the face of the box and curled the ball past the Hamburg 'keeper to give Bochum a deserved lead after an enterprising start to the second half.
The Rothosen didn't drop their heads, and turned the game around inside the space of seven minutes. Almost immediately from the restart Dieter Hecking's troops won a corner that Sonny Kittel floated to the near post where the majority of attackers and defenders were positioned. Bochum managed to head the first ball away but only as far as the waiting Tim Leibold who let fly on the volley from the edge of the area, with the ball past Drewes and in off the crossbar before the Bochum 'keeper had a chance to move, a stunning strike from the lieft-back for his first HSV goal. And Leibold was involved in the 74th minute as the comeback was complete. The 26-year-old fizzed a whicked ball from the left-hand side straight into the path of subtitute Joel Pohjanpalo, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes, which left defender Decarli on his backside and the Finn through on goal. The January signing from Leverkusen made no mistake, settling himself with one touch before firing his second past Drewes for his first goal in Hamburg colours.
The Finn was causing all kinds of problems for the home defence with his directness and movement, and could have had a hat-trick were it not for an outstanding save from Drewes and a header from a Kittel cross which smacked against the right-hand upright. However, it mattered little as Kittel himself put the game to bed three minutes from time, as substitute Gideon Jung did exceptionally well down the left-hand side, freeing space for Schaub who laid across to the unmarked Kittel on the penalty spot. The 27-year-old needed no second invitation, curling beautifully past Drewes to send the 4,000 travelling fans wild and secure the first three points on the road since August 2019 and second win in a row after the Christmas break. The Rothosen will be hoping to repeat the trick on Saturday at home to another team threatened by relegation, Karlsruher SC.
VfL Bochum: Drewes - Gamboa (85' Wintzheimer), Leitsch, Decarli, Danilo - Losilla - Tesche (77' Blum), Janelt (75' Zulj) - Zoller, Ganvoula, Weilandt
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes - Beyer, Letschert, van Drongelen, Leibold - Fein - Schaub, Dudziak (71' Jung) - Jatta, Hinterseer (71' Pohjanpalo), Kittel (88' Narey)
Goals: 1-0 Zoller (65'), 1-1 Leibold (68'), 2-1 Pohjanpalo (74'), 3-1 Kittel (87')
Referee: Daniel Schlager (Hügelsheim)
Yellow cards: Gamboa (38') / Hinterseer (62')
Red cards: - / -