KSC vs. HSV – Diaz and Müller save the dinosaur from extinction

Bundesliga dinosaurs Hamburger SV have survived for another season, thanks to a late goal from Marcelo Diaz and an extra-time winner from Nicolai Müller, after promising midfielder Reinhard Yabo had put hosts Karlsruhe SC a goal ahead in Monday’s relegation play-off.

Even Müller’s 115th minute goal wasn’t enough to stave off the late drama in Karlsruhe, as the 2. Bundesliga side received a 123rd minute penalty. Rouwen Hennings, who had got the tie off to such a great start back on Thursday evening with the opening goal, was victimized by a fine Rene Adler to secure survival for HSV without pressure of conceding again in the late moments.

Karlsruhe started the brighter side, with Manuel Torres creating the first chance for the hosts early on. The chance missed and Marcus Kauczinski’s side were soon forced onto the defence as Ivo Ilicevic and Ivica Olic fired over Karlsruhe skipper Dirk Orlishausen’s goal.

Both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances in the first half, though, with perhaps the clearest chance landing just before the break as Lewis Holtby crossed towards the head of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, whose header was gathered thankfully by Orlishausen.

Hamburg emerged from halftime the better side. Lasogga missed their first great opening of the game, after Rafael van der Vaart and Dennis Diekmeier had created a chance for last year’s play-off relegation hero.

As time wore on, however, Karlsruhe began to improve. Dimitrij Nazarov and Daniel Gordon both missed good chances for the hosts with an hour gone.

Yabo, on as a substitute for Hiroki Yamada, finally managed to break Hamburg’s resolve with 12 minutes remaining on the clock, opening the scoring for the hosts.

Hamburg had chances, most notably Lasogga firing wide, mere moments after Yabo’s 1:0 before hitting the post a minute later. As the guests began to increase pressure, Karlsruhe was left defending for their lives.

Chilean midfielder Macelo Diaz stepped up to the plate, thanks to a controversial hand-ball call, and converted Hamburg’s first direct free kick of the season for a crucial equalizer.

Given the 1:1 scoreline from last Thursday, the matter would be decided in extra time.

The first half of extra time started slowly with Hamburg exhausted from pressing for an equaliser and Karlsruhe mentally shot from conceding so late in regular time. The slow start soon made way for a frantic final fifteen minutes of 2014/15 for both teams.

It was Hamburg who proved the benefactors, as a resurgent Hamburg midfield broke through a tired Karlsruhe, with Müller finding himself before an open goal at the end of a slick foray forward by the dinosaurs and burying the decisive goal.

Karlsruhe, in need of two goals to progress to the Bundesliga thanks to the folly of the away-goal rule, never really came close to again threatening, despite the chance from the spot that went unconverted.

The result means that Hamburg maintain their top-tier status for yet another season, remaining the only club to have played every season in the Bundesliga since its inception in 1963.

Karlsruhe, meanwhile, have fallen at the final hurdle of what could have been a defining moment in a successful couple of years. The club was promoted from the 3. Liga in 2013 and challenged for promotion last year.

As it is, Kauczinski’s men will face another season in the second tier. Football can be tough, sometimes. His opposite number, Bruno Labbadia, has managed the great escape; recovering a near-dead team over the course of just a few games.

Karlsruher SC 1:2 (0:0, 1:1 full time, 2:3 aggregate) Hamburger SV Yabo 78. – Diaz 90+1., Müller 115.

Karlsruhe: Orlishausen; Valentin, Gordon, Gulde, Max (Kempe, 86.); Meffert, Krebs (Stoll, 89.); Torres, Yamada (Yabo, 72.), Nazarov; Hennings. (4-2-3-1)

Hamburg: Adler; Diekmeier, Djourou, Rajkovic, Ostrzolek; Diaz, van der Vaart; Olic (Müller, 77.), Holtby (Stieber, 67.), Ilicevic (Cleber, 86.); Lasogga. (4-2-3-1)

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Conor Garratt

I am Conor Garratt, a 21-year old student from South West England. I study German and History at the University of Southampton, currently spending a year abroad in Mainz, Germany. I love football, especially German football, and am a Swindon Town & Borussia Mönchengladbach fan in my spare time.

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