Created on 24-02-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern came from behind to draw with the side in fourth but had Mark van Bommel sent off at the end of an always absorbing and increasingly dramatic match.
A 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the home side boss the play but struggle for clear-cut openings in the first half against a disciplined and physical Hamburg side, who even stole into the lead on the hour when Ivica Olic netted after an uncharacteristic Lucio howler.
Munich were level just six minutes later after sub Franck Ribery set up Ze Roberto, but despite a flurry of chances in a rousing finish, the Reds were unable to make the breakthrough and saw insult added to injury when Van Bommel received his marching orders for dissent in stoppage time.
The result takes Bayern onto 44 points from 21 matches, extending their lead over Bremen to four points, but the draw also sees Hamburg remain in touch on 38 points in fourth, level with third-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
In with the new
True to his publicly announced policy of rotating his squad to cope with a potential 24 more matches this term, Ottmar Hitzfeld made five changes to the side which swept past Aberdeen on Thursday.
It was a case of new faces all round at full-back where Christian Lell and Philipp Lahm came in for Willy Sagnol and Marcell Jansen, with Ze Roberto and Bastian Schweinsteiger restored to the midfield in place of youngsters Andi Ottl and Toni Kroos. The final switch saw Miro Klose back in the side at Lukas Podolski’s expense, but Hitzfeld opted to hold Ribery in reserve for the time being.
HSV boss Huub Stevens similarly named half-fit superstar Rafael van der Vaart among his substitutes, but started with no fewer than three former Bayern men in his ranks, namely enforcer David Jarolim, midfielder Piotr Trochowski and striker Paolo Guerrero.
Once referee Lutz Wagner had whistled play underway on a pleasantly springlike afternoon in Munich, the sides with the meanest defences in the league spent the first quarter of the match feeling each other out, with no quarter given or asked at either end.
Frank Rost was the busier of the keepers, although the HSV shot-stopper could have done little about Ze’s deflected shot or Luca Toni’s header from a Hamit Alintop cross as the leaders created the only early chances worthy of note.
Olic, Guerrero and Nigel de Jong all loosed off speculative efforts for the visitors, but none came as close as Mark van Bommel’s swerving drive five minutes before the interval. But the robust and well-organised Hamburg rearguard otherwise held firm and the sides turned round with the game deadlocked at 0-0.
Goal apiece on the hour
Guerrero’s snapshot forced a first meaningful save from Oliver Kahn and Lell had a decent shout for a penalty waved aside as the tempo increased after the restart, before Ze Roberto starred at both ends, clearing an Olic cross from the danger zone and rifling just wide of Rost’s goal in the next move.
Klose so nearly capitalised on centre-half Joris Mathijsen’s first error of the match, but just as the Reds seemed poised to strike, Jarolim dispossessed Lucio on the hour and played in Olic for the striker to calmly slot home his tenth goal of the season and hand the visitors a shock lead.
Hitzfeld reacted immediately by bringing on Ribery for the ineffective Schweinsteiger, and the France star was in the thick of the action at once, slipping a loose ball back into the danger area after Lell’s energetic thrust into the box for Ze to slot into the empty net and level after 66 minutes.
Van Bommel off in frantic finish
Podolski replaced Klose for the last quarter of an hour, and Rost was soon diving to smother at Toni’s feet before Van der Vaart finally appeared in place of the HSV goalscorer for the final ten minutes. Toni had the ball in the net only to be pulled back for an offence and then saw Rost brilliantly deny his close-range effort as Bayern pressed for a late winner, but Van Bommel’s completely unnecessary sending-off and associated ban capped an ultimately disappointing afternoon for the league leaders.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley