Osnabrück outfight Hamburg to seal deserved win
Niklas Schmidt and David Blacha's first-half goals were enough for Osnabrück to defeat Hamburger SV.
Sonny Kittel's second-half goal was not enough for Hamburg to mount yet another comeback on Friday (29th November), as VfL Osnabrück sealed a deserved three points at a jubilant Stadion an der Bremer Brücke. The home side needed a while to come into the game but deservedly led at the half-time break by two goals to nil, having made the most of their few chances in front of goal. Two half-time changes from Dieter Hecking failed to spark the Rothosen into life, and despite Kittel's second in as many games, HSV were by no means dominant in the second half and can have no qualms with leaving Lower Saxony empty-handed. Dieter Hecking's side failed to match the ruthlessness in front of goal of their hosts, and found it difficult to create chances against a very well-organised and hard-working Osnabrück team.
Osnabrück surge ahead after strong Hamburg start
HSV's last league outing had seen the Rothosen snatch a dramatic late victory against Dynamo Dresden, with Gideon Jung coming in for Timo Letschert in the only change to the HSV line-up from the previous Saturday. Dieter Hecking's charges started where they had left off against Dynamo, controlling possession and looking a lot more comfortable in their usual 4-3-3 formation. Sonny Kittel's free-kick from 25 yards out warmed Osnabrück 'keeper Kühn's palms, before Martin Harnik's cross-cum-shot flashed across the face of goal. The Austrian came agonisingly close to an opener in the 23rd minute, as another flowing HSV counter-attack saw the ball find its way to the 31-year-old, who cut inside and curled a left-footed effort onto the base of the post from the edge of the area.
As the half wore on, Osnabrück grew more into the game, with the increasing amount of disruptions working in the hosts' favour. Niklas Schmidt enjoyed the first chance of the game for the Purple and Whites, exchanging passes on the edge of the HSV box before testing Daniel Heuer Fernandes, who was equal to the 21-year-old's effort. The Rothosen didn't heed the warning, and Schmidt put his side ahead in the 37th minute, dancing through three weak HSV challenges after picking the ball up on the halfway-line and poking through Heuer Fernandes' legs for his third goal of the season. Schmidt could have doubled his personal tally for the evening, firing just past the post from the edge of the penalty box when well-placed, yet the hosts doubled their lead in first-half injury time. After another poor HSV pass in midfield, Daniel Thioune's side broke quickly down the right-hand side, and Marcos Alvarez crossed to the back post. Agu unselfishlessly headed back into the middle where captain Blacha was waiting unmarked to head past Heuer Fernandes. Whilst perhaps one goal too many, the hosts' effectiveness and ruthlessness meant their two-goal lead was hardly undeserved.
Kittel strike not enough for turnaround
The first half of the second period saw the Rothosen struggle to break down the swarmed ranks of the defending third division champions. Well-organised by Daniel Thioune, a lack of movement in midfield and ferocious pressing from the hosts saw the away side fail to generate the chances that the scoreline required, despite a double change at half-time. With 64 minutes played, Hamburg showed the ruthlessness that their hosts had displayed in the first half, using their first real chance of the second half to reduce the deficit. Adrian Fein's slide-rule pass was intended for the overlapping Khaled Narey but found Sonny Kittel in the right-half channel, who controlled and swivelled on the spot to fire past the impressive Kühn.
After a number of late comebacks, the HSV fans were likely expecting another turnaround from the Rothosen, yet if anything the Purple and Whites came on stronger as the game entered its final quarter of an hour. David Kinsombi's header over the bar from a Tim Leibold cross was the only chance of note for the away side, with Daniel Thioune's well-drilled charges proving hard to break down and very savvy at keeping the ball and winding the clock down. As the game entered injury time, the usual late HSV drama was this time missing, as Osnabrück saw out the final moments with relative ease. Hamburg can have few complaints over the loss as the winless run away from home continues. The second half was improved from Dieter Hecking's men, but by no means convincing enough to deserve a point, and, if anything the hosts were slightly better after the restart. The Rothosen will have to pick themselves up for an important home tie against Heidenheim next Friday.
VfL Osnabrück: Kühn - Susac, Heyer, van Aken - Ajdini, Taffertshofer, Blacha, Agu - Schmidt (72' Köhler), Alvarez (90'+2 Henning), Amenyido (56' Heider)
Hamburger SV: Heuer Fernandes - Narey, Jung, van Drongelen (78' Ewerton), Leibold - Fein, Dudziak, Kittel, Moritz (46' Kinsombi) - Harnik, Wood (46' Samperio)
Goals: 1-0 Schmidt (37'), 2-0 Blacha (45'+2), 2-1 Kittel (64')
Attendance: 16,667 (sold-out)
Referee: Tobias Reichel (Stuttgart)
Yellow cards: Alvarez (69') / Leibold (62')
Red cards: - / -