Tue, Apr 29, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Hamburg SV suffer another setback in battle to avoid drop

AP, FRANKFURT, Germany

Hamburg SV lost 3-1 at Augsburg on Sunday to suffer another setback in the struggle to avoid the first Bundesliga relegation in the club’s history.

In the late match, Borussia Moenchengladbach won 1-0 at Schalke 04 on a first-half goal by Patrick Herrmann as Schalke failed to strengthen their grip on third place and a direct slot in the UEFA Champions League.

Hamburg’s eighth straight away loss also means four teams are safe from relegation. Werder Bremen, Hannover 96, SC Freiburg and Eintracht Frankfurt are now mathematically certain to stay in the top flight.

“Our only concern now is the [relegation] playoff place,” Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka said.

Only VfB Stuttgart can be overhauled by Hamburg, which are 16th and in a relegation playoff place, but Stuttgart are five points ahead with only two matches remaining, while Nuremberg and Eintracht Braunschweig are one and two points behind respectively.

The two-leg playoff involves the 16th-placed team from the Bundesliga and the third-placed team from the second division.

Halil Altintop scored twice and Andre Hahn also netted to give Augsburg a 3-0 lead, before Heiko Westermann pulled one back for Hamburg in the 44th minute.

Schalke remained third with 58 points, three ahead of Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Moenchengladbach have 52, two behind VfL Wolfsburg in fifth.

Herrmann’s goal all but secured Moenchengladbach’s place in the UEFA Europa League next season.

Both teams wasted good opportunities and Schalke’s Adam Szalai hit the post from close range in the 82nd minute.

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