Hamburg wins to boost hopes of avoiding relegation
BERLIN (AP) — Heiko Westermann scored late for Hamburger SV to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and provisionally escape the Bundesliga’s relegation zone on Friday.
Westermann met Dennis Diekmeier’s cross with a right-footed volley to score from a central position in the 82nd minute, and Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler made a crucial save from Emre Can to protect the win in injury time.
“It’s a relief,” Westermann said. “So many emotions in the game. Of course it’s a great feeling when you score the winning goal.”
Hakan Calhanoglu gave the home side a fourth-minute lead with a powerful strike but a mistake from Adler allowed Leverkusen to equalize in the 58th, when he let Julian Brandt’s harmless-looking effort from distance slip past.
Adler otherwise produced an assured performance with a number of important saves.
The 17-year-old Brandt became Leverkusen’s youngest ever goal-scorer in the Bundesliga.
Hamburg’s late surge saw it climb above Nuremberg and Stuttgart in the table, pending their home games Saturday with Borussia Moenchengladbach and Freiburg, respectively.
“It’s a great feeling for the lads,” Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka said. “This win isn’t just good for the team; it’s good for the city, for the fans. I think everyone deserves it.”
The result increases the pressure on Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia with fourth place no longer secure. Both Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg can overtake his side with wins on Saturday.
“We’re not paying attention to this discussion (about Hyypia),” Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes said. “Luck isn’t on our side.”
Leverkusen has just one win from its last 12 competitive games.