Bobby Wood’s Hamburg still in relegation zone after draw with Mainz

Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP
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BERLIN (AP) Hamburger SV and Mainz played out a scoreless draw Sunday, leaving both teams in danger of relegation with two rounds of the Bundesliga to go.

“I can imagine that the point could be worth its weight in gold,” said Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol, whose side remained in the relegation playoff spot.

Hamburg’s Christian Mathenia was the busiest of the two `keepers in a scrappy game of few clear-cut chances. Mathenia produced a good save to deny Jhon Cordoba and then Yoshinori Muto from the rebound early on.

A long ball put Bobby Wood in a good position at the other end but Mainz captain Stefan Bell cleared for a corner.

“The relegation fight is dirty. It was a good reaction after Augsburg,” Mathenia said of his side’s performance following last weekend’s 4-0 loss at relegation-rival Augsburg.

Hamburg is the only founding member of the league never to have been relegated. But it faces the prospect of its third playoff in four seasons unless it can claim points from its final games at Schalke and then at home to Wolfsburg.

“You could see that both teams are under enormous pressure,” Mainz sporting director Rouven Schroeder said. “But we’re above Hamburg and that’s what counts.”

Mainz remained above Hamburg on goal difference, four points above Ingolstadt. Augsburg and Wolfsburg were both two points clear of the relegation zone, while last-placed Darmstadt was relegated on Saturday.

Two first-half goals from Florian Niederlechner lifted Freiburg to fifth and all but ended Schalke’s hopes of European football from its inconsistent season.

Markus Weinzierl’s side needs to win both its remaining games against Hamburg and Ingolstadt, and hope for favors from others against Freiburg and Hertha Berlin. Schalke is six points behind Freiburg and five behind Hertha. Even if Hertha and Freiburg do stumble, Cologne, Werder Bremen and Borussia Moenchengladbach are better placed than Schalke to take advantage.

Goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann was the visitors’ best player, and Schalke would be even lower than its 10th place without his interventions during this season.

Promoted last season, Freiburg was leading Hertha by a point. Cologne and Werder Bremen are both a point further back, with two games remaining. Sixth place is the last to guarantee European qualification.