"It feels good as it's always difficult to win at Hamburg. In the final 20 minutes we had to push ourselves all the way and put in a lot of running. With the goal we conceded, I unfortunately played a misplaced pass but we deserved to win," said Kai Havertz. Julian Brandt took a similar view: "It was a hard-fought game with few frills. We stood up, drove ourselves forward and deserved to win the game in the end."
Bayer 04 made five changes for the game against HSV from the side that started against Hertha Berlin last weekend. Panos Retsos played in central defence in place of Jonathan Tah who was laid low by a bout of flu later on, Tin Jedvaj replaced Benny Henrichs at right back with the Croatian making his first appearance of the season after a long spell on the sidelines through injury. Charles Aránguiz, Leon Bailey and Kai Havertz came into the starting line-up for Julian Baumgartlinger, Karim Bellarabi and Lucas Alario.
Hamburg has always been tough venue for the Werkself in recent years with only one point earned in the last four away games at HSV. Once again, the hosts opted for an uncompromising, physical approach given that they are battling to avoid relegation. Wendell experienced that early on when Mergim Mavraj put in a poor challenge that deservedly earned a yellow card on 10 minutes. That was the end of the game for the Brazilian as he had to limp off. Heiko Herrlich was forced to reshuffle his defence, bringing on Henrichs at left back.
In the opening stages, both teams carelessly gave the ball away and that had a clear effect on the flow of the game. The first danger up front from Bayer 04 came on 20 minutes: A shot from Dominik Kohr was unintentionally blocked by Brandt and the follow-up attempt by Kevin Volland did not trouble Christian Mathenia. The next chance followed straightaway and it was a really good one: A cross from Havertz was headed just wide of the far post by Aránguiz on 26 minutes. A cross from Volland was not met properly by Havertz who was under pressure two minutes later – the Werkself were clearly on top at this point. And the reward came five minutes before the break with a deserved opener: Kohr made his way halfway across the pitch to the opposition penalty area and his cross saw Bailey pinch the ball off a clumsy Douglas Santos and then the Jamaican rounded Mathenia in the six-yard box before tucking the ball into the empty net on 40 minutes. The ninth goal of the season from the Bayer 04 number nine saw the Werkself take a 1-0 lead into the break.
The second 45 minutes started perfectly for the Werkself: An attack down the left, initiated by Jedvaj, saw Henrichs whip in a cross from the byline and Havertz was on the spot in the centre to hit a low shot into the right-hand corner of the net to double the lead on 50 minutes. Bayer 04 were in complete control at Volkspark Stadium and the home fans were increasingly unimpressed with the nervous hosts. However, they had a chance with a volley on the turn from Bobby Wood that saw Bernd Leno produce a brilliant reflex save to turn the ball round the post on 66 minutes. Bayer 04 then presented the opposition with an opportunity to pull a goal back: From a Werkself throw-in and a loss of possession by Havertz, HSV quickly made seized the initiative move with Hahn beating Leno in a one-on-one to make it 2-1 on 70 minutes.
The stadium came alive again as Hamburg sensed they had a chance and they pressed forward with a mixture of courage and desperation. Heiko Herrlich brought on Lucas Alario and the Argentinian forced Mathenia into making it a save from his shot from 16 yards out. Sejad Salihovic unceremoniously brought down Volland and was shown a yellow card – Hamburg once again displayed their more physical side. HSV were looking to land a lucky punch but Bayer 04 stood firm with the outstanding Retsos performing very well in the centre of defence. Julian Baumgartlinger came on for Havertz with two minutes of normal time to play. Wood had a chance to level for Hamburg in added time but his shot flew just wide of the upright. That was the end of the action and the Werkself celebrated an enormously important away win with their 1,400 travelling fans.
Bayer 04 return to the BayArena for matchday 24 with Schalke 04 the visitors. The kick-off on Sunday 25 February is at 15.30 CET.
Hamburg SV: Mathenia – Mavraj (Hahn 46'), Papadopoulos, van Drongelen – Sakai, Douglas Santos – Jung, Walace – Salihovic (Hunt 79') – Arp (Wood 54'), Kostic
Bayer 04: Leno – Jedvaj, Retsos, S. Bender, Wendell (Henrichs 16') – Kohr, Aránguiz – Brandt (Alario 73'), Havertz (Baumgartlinger 88'), Bailey – Volland
Goals: 0-1 Bailey (40'), 0-2 Havertz (50'), 1-2 Hahn (70')
Referee: Dr. Brych (Munich)
Booked: Mavraj, Salihovic – Retsos, Aránguiz
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