Bundesliga: Hamburg out of relegation zone, Gladbach return to top 3
A late Gojko Kacar goal earned Hamburg their second straight win and lifted them out of the bottom three with a 2-1 victory at Mainz.
A Julian Baumgartlinger own goal put the visitors in front at the Coface Arena, but Yunus Malli’s sixth strike of 2015 looked set to earn Mainz a point.
Kacar had other ideas, though, earning Hamburg all three points with his 87th-minute effort before Daniel Brosinski was shown a red card for luckless Mainz, who also lost Elkin Soto to injury.
Mainz looked in control of proceedings until a clash between Rafael van der Vaart and Soto left the Mainz midfielder clutching his knee in agony.
He was carried from the field, with his club later confirming his season was over due to a serious knee injury.
Malli came on and Hamburg started to gain the upper hand.
They took the lead rather fortunately when Heiko Westermann’s cross looped off Baumgartlinger’s head and into the far corner of Loris Karius’ goal.
Hamburg had some good chances to increase their lead early in the second half, with Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kacar both testing Karius.
Koo Ja-cheol then hit a post at the other end, sparking Mainz back into life, with an equalizer arriving soon after.
Malli grabbed it, turning in Jairo Samperio’s pass from close range.
It was not enough for a point, though, as Hamburg struck again, Johan Djourou cleverly leaving the ball for Kacar to drive a shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
A harsh red card for Brosinski as he muscled Artjoms Rudnevs off the ball late compounded a miserable day for Mainz.
But for Hamburg it was anything but as they moved out of the relegation zone for the first time in over two months.
Hertha Berlin 1 – 2 Moenchengladbach
Borussia Moenchengladbach moved back up to third in the Bundesliga thanks to a 2-1 win at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Max Kruse gave the Foals the lead in the 11th minute, but Valentin Stocker replied immediately for the hosts.
An 85th-minute winner from Ibrahima Traore took Gladbach back above Bayer Leverkusen into a position which would take them into the Champions League group stage next season, giving them a two-point advantage going into their crucial clash with Leverkusen next weekend.
Kruse was unfortunate to see the offside flag raised after he took a long ball down well and tucked the ball past Thomas Kraft, but his disappointment did not last for long.
Hertha failed to clear their lines and Raffael found himself with room to push on, and his square ball was turned in first time by Kruse with nothing preventing him from celebrating this time.
Those celebrations were cut short as Hertha leveled just a minute later.
Salomon Kalou’s header came back off the crossbar and Stocker was in the right place to nod in the rebound.
Granit Xhaka’s curling effort was turned over the crossbar expertly by Kraft, but when the Swiss midfielder was provided with a much easier chance, he placed his shot wide with only Kraft to beat.
Patrick Herrmann was not having his best of days for Gladbach and Favre decided to replace him with Traore in what proved to be an inspired substitution.
The former Stuttgart full-back curled in the winner from the edge of the penalty area for his first goal of the season which could hardly have been better timed, in terms of its importance.