Young midfielder Amadou Onana had already given Hamburg the lead, connecting with an Aaron Hunt free-kick to beat Manuel Riemann in Bochum’s goal, but they had little to be concerned about when he had the ball in midfield with just under 30 minutes gone in the first half.
Danny Blum, for reasons only he could know, may have felt otherwise, lunging in from behind and sticking his studs into the 19-year-old’s foot. Even in the VAR era, it was as clear a red card as you will ever see. It was not dissimilar to Vladimír Darida’s similar offence on Marco Reus in the Bundesliga 24 hours later.
In the first game in November it had been different. He could have seen red for a challenge of Jeremy Dudziak not long after Hamburg had drawn level. Instead he saw yellow, and went on to score a screamer, lobbing Sven Ulreich, as Bochum took all three points from the Volksparkstadion. Here though, he had no complaints and simply walked off, perhaps thinking he was taking his team’s chances of winning with him.
As it was Bochum somehow were the better side in the second half, leaving one feeling what might have been had they played the remainder with all 11 men. They had relatively few chances, but a large part of that might have been Thomas Reis having to sacrifice Silvère Ganvoula soon after the sending off to solidify the 4-4-1 formation.
Hamburg are known for wilting, and perhaps an extra man against them would have made a difference, but their defence held strong despite the Bochum pressure, with Stephan Ambrosius probably the pick of the bench. They got their reward late on as Khaled Narey blasted in a second to secure the three points and move them back up to second in the table.
Reis felt that you couldn’t tell his team were outnumbered and was pleased with how they had played in the second half. “The guys definitely deserved a draw here today,” he said to the media after the match.
There was no signs in the performance that this is where it all falls apart for Bochum, especially given how they’ve responded to negative results over the course of the campaign. “What sets us apart throughout the season is that we respond to failure with a win,” according to Reis. “We have to do that again.”
They will try to do so against Fortuna Düsseldorf, a side they beat 5-0 in the Hinrunde, albeit after an early red card. That is one of two tough games either side of the international break, with Holstein Kiel to follow on the other side. Hamburg and Kiel are now just two behind them on 46 points, and Fürth will join them if they beat Würzburg in their delayed match on Wednesday.
For Hamburg and Daniel Thioune, this could be a pivotal win. Thioune will take delight from three of his substitutes – Gideon Jung, Manuel Wintzheimer and Narey – playing pivotal roles in the game-sealing goals. So often last season, especially towards the end, Dieter Hecking didn’t have the options from the bench.
Just as importantly, they were not at their best and still took the three points, with no signs of defensive frailty. In-form Heidenheim await them next. If they can pass that test, they are well set for the run-in. The odds are still in favour of these two teams meeting again next season – in the Bundesliga.
▪ For the first time in the 2. Bundesliga, as many as three games were called off due to COVID-19 cases. Holstein Kiel’s trip to Heidenheim fell on Friday morning after several positive tests in the team, whilst a case in the Hannover 96 camp saw their game against Würzburger Kickers postponed. With both teams in 14-day quarantine, next week’s meeting between them will be postponed as well. SSV Jahn Regensburg are at least out of quarantine ahead the game against Fürth. Despite a third wave of the virus in Germany, there are no suggestions the season could be suspended.
▪ On his return to SV Darmstadt 98, Dirk Schuster warmly greeted his former charge Serdar Dursun before the game but will have been left ruing the striker’s ruthlessness in front of goal as his hat-trick condemned FC Erzgebirge Aue to yet another defeat at the Böllenfalltor. They have never won there and hadn’t even scored until Dimitrij Nazarov’s late consolation penalty made it 3-1, with Mathias Honsak’s strike adding a late fourth. Little went right for the Violas – John-Patrick Strauß’s mistake gifted the first goal, Sören Gonther suffered a potential season-ending injury, his replacement Louis Samson was sent off and Pascal Testroet missed a sitter.
▪ VfL Onsabrück’s nine game winless streak was ended in Markus Feldhoff’s first game in charge as Marc Heider secured them a share of the points against 1. FC Nürnberg. It took Manuel Schäffler scoring yet again against them in the second half to bring a dour, defensive game to life, with the equaliser coming 12 minutes later. On a personal level, forward Heider will have been pleased to have finally scored his first 2. Bundesliga after 44 attempts, the 34-year-old having spent most of his career in the 3. Liga.
VfL Bochum 0-2 Hamburger SV
1. FC Heidenheim P-P Holstein Kiel
SV Darmstadt 98 4-1 FC Erzgebirge Aue
SV Sandhausen 0-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Hannover 96 P-P Würzburger Kickers
Karlsruher SC 0-0 Eintracht Braunschweig
1. FC Nürnberg 1-1 VfL Osnabrück
FC St. Pauli vs SC Paderborn 07 (Monday)
SSV Jahn Regensburg vs SpVgg Greuther Fürth (Wednesday)