Hamburg held in play-off
Last Updated: 15/05/14 10:16pm
Frustration for Hamburg's Rafael van der Vaart
Hamburg's Bundesliga future remains hanging by a thread after they were held 0-0 at home by Greuther Furth in the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off on Thursday evening.
The hosts came into the game on the back of five straight defeats while Furth had lost only one of their last 14, yet it was still the visitors who took a more cautious approach, succeeding in taking back a result to Bavaria which gives them everything to play for on Sunday.
Hamburg, looking to avoid their first-ever relegation from the German top flight, created the best chances in the second half, but they failed to make the breakthrough at the Volksparkstadion.
Mirko Slomka's side had to cope with a further setback prior to kick-off when regular goalkeeper Rene Adler had to pull out with a back injury.
Jaroslav Drobny took his place between the posts, but he was not really put to the test by a Furth side who appeared more intent on defending.
The visitors emerged from their shells after 10 minutes with Ilir Azemi seeing more of the ball and causing a few problems to the Hamburg defence, and he tested Drobny for the first time in the 26th minute.
Hamburg were forced to defend inside their own stadium, much to the frustration of the 57,000 crowd, concerned as to whether they may be seeing the end of their 51-year stay in the Bundesliga.
Only Hakan Calhanoglu seemed capable of creating anything for the hosts, but his only shot on goal just before the break failed to find the target.
Something had to change for Slomka's men in the second 45 minutes, but it still took them a while to shake off their apparent nerves.
Rafael van der Vaart then started to find his way into the game and the chances slowly started arrive, from the boot of the Dutchman for the head of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who gave Furth goalkeeper Wolfgang Hesl his first real taste of the action.
Lasogga beat Hesl minutes later, but the goal was ruled out for offside, before the striker used his hand to get to another Van der Vaart cross, with the referee seeing that too.
Lasogga headed wide again as the clock ticked down with the northern Germany side ultimately unable to find a way through as caution gained the upper hand in the closing stages.
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