BERLIN – Salomon Kalou broke Hamburg hearts as he came off the bench to secure a 2-1 victory for Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Crisis-stricken Hamburg were trying for a fresh start under new coach Christian Titz, but Kalou’s second-half winner stretched their winless run to 14 games, and they remain on course for a first relegation in their history.
“It seemed like we ran out of bravery in the second half,” Titz told Sky. “In the first half, we showed what this team is capable of.”
Hamburg started brightly, and took the lead on 25 minutes after Douglas Santos broke away on the counter-attack. At the other end, several smart saves from Julian Pollersbeck kept the lead in tact until half-time.
Hertha finally broke through ten minutes into the second half, Valentino Lazaro turning in Marvin Plattenhardt’s cross to level the scores.
Minutes later, Salomon Kalou popped up in the box to stab home the winner for Hertha.
“Hamburg started well and had a good first 45 minutes,” said Kalou. “We were stronger in the second half.”
Hamburg’s defeat keeps them second from bottom, seven points behind Mainz, who were outclassed in a 3-0 defeat to local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.
Frankfurt took the lead six minutes in, Kevin-Prince Boateng’s volley slipping through the fingers of goalkeeper Florian Mueller. Luka Jovic then doubled the lead on 22 minutes, before Ante Rebic made it three just before halftime.
Elsewhere, Werder Bremen moved further away from the bottom three with a clinical 3-1 win over Augsburg, while Matthias Ginter saved a late point for Borussia Moenchengladbach in a six-goal thriller with Hoffenheim.
Two strikes from Ishak Belfodil gave Bremen a two-goal lead at halftime, the Algerian firing in a well-angled opener after five minutes, and adding a second minutes before the break.
Rani Khedira pulled a goal back for Augsburg with a powerful header in the second half, but Max Kruse’s curling strike secured victory for Bremen 10 minutes from time.
Now that's what you call football ⚽— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) March 17, 2018
4️⃣ games, 1️⃣6️⃣ goals! pic.twitter.com/L8c6dkp4SA
In Moenchengladbach, Benjamin Huebner headed Hoffenheim in front on 13 minutes, before Josip Drmic levelled the scores before halftime.
After Andrej Kramaric had restored the lead from the penalty spot, Gladbach equalised again through Lars Stindl on 72 minutes, only for Fabian Grillitsch to fire in Hoffenheim’s third moments later.
With just minutes to play, Ginter swept in a third equaliser to rescue a point for Gladbach.AFP