The playoff series ended in dramatic fashion for both the Bundesliga and Zweite Liga.
After first round draws, both HSV (against Karlsruhe) and 1860 München (against Kiel) left drama until the last second to save their lives! The “dinosaurs” prevail…
In the Bundesliga playoff, HSV once again had to fight on against the 2.Liga 3rd place finisher. Last season they barely survived on away goals afater a pair of draws against SpVgg Greuther Fürth. This year was even more dramatic, as the “eternal Bundesliga clock” in Hamburg was within seconds of getting shut down.
Hamburger SV – Karlsruher SC 1-1
The first match in Hamburg was a lucky one for HSV. The home side was largely outplayed by KSC, and Hennings put the visitors in front after only 4 minutes. The 2.Liga club seemed closer to the decisive 2nd goal than the home side, but in the 78th minute Ilicevic was able to equalize. The 56,615 fans in attendance watched nervously as Hamburg struggled throughout the match, coming close to dropping out on a couple of occasions.
Karlsruher SC – Hamburger SV 1-2 aet
The re-match in Karlsruhe was pure drama. The rafters were packed with 27,896 in the Wildpark, and a scoreless draw was all KSC needed. However, this might have been the poison pill for the home side. Coach Markus Kauczinski decided on a overly defensive strategy, withdrawing back and packing the back. At first, the plan seemed to be working, as HSV was totally incompetent to get anything done, and the match went scoreless into the half. On the restart, HSV got a bit bolder and opened up. Taking more chances, they began to create some opportunities that were totally lacking in the 1st half. Ironically, as was true to their whole season, they were caught with their pants down as Yabo scored on a counter for KSC in 78th minute. Karlsruhe withdrew back into their shell, but this proved to be their undoing. HSV was now desperate, launching fierce attacks, and actually coming close – they were deserving a goal, hitting the post, having ball cleared off the line, missing point blank. Then the goal happened. In injury time, the ref gave a somewhat dubious handball freekick, and Marcelo Diaz curled in the direct free-kick for the equalizer. Overtime! After a rather boring first period, HSV counter and Nico Müller got the winner at 115. The ref had another poor call, as he gave KSC a handball penalty (which Adler stopped), but with Karslruhe having now to win outright, it was basically over. A heroic salvation for Bruno Labbadia’s squad, and he certainly made the right move, as all three players that made the winning goal were subs he sent on late in the match. Karlsruhe grumbled about the freekick, but HSV deserved an equalizer. Frankly, KSC blew it with their stupid defensive strategy, kind of like the “prevent defense” in the NFL, so good riddance. The end result means that the eternal clock gets another 3,060 minutes of Bundesliga play added next season…
The 2.Liga playoff was just as dramatic.
Holstein Kiel – 1860 München 0-0
The first match in Kiel didn’t draw huge interest, as only 9,816 fans showed up. Kiel was the dominant side, as 1860 was tight on defense and relying on counters. However the Holsteiners were unable to get much out of their control, as they were weak up front and not willing to take many chances. Therefore it remained scoreless and perhaps 1860 gets an advantage for the rematch.
1860 München – Holstein Kiel 2-1
The München Allianz-Arena wasn’t sold out, but 57,000 did show up to see the decisive match. The home side was completely lame in the first period, but Kiel was another story. The Holsteiners were quick and aggressive, and grabbed a deserved early lead in the 16th minute via Kazior. With the Lions bereft of ideas, things were looking grim. The second half had 1860 running harder, but still without a clue. Kiel had a couple of golden chances to decide the match, but blew it. Then Adlung got the equalizer in the 78th minute for the home side, which started off a furious finish. With the 1-1 result, Kiel would qualify on away goals. The Lions threw everything into a last second assulat…and it paid off. In injury time, Rama danced into the box and placed one off the post, Bülow re-acted fastest and rammed home the rebound. 1860 was saved! The Kielers were stunned and had nothing left in the tank to mount their own desperation attack in the last couple of minutes.