Hamburg secured Bundesliga survival in a play-off for the second year in a row as they came from behind to beat Karlsruher.
Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg at the Imtech Arena, Hamburg appeared destined to suffer relegation from the Bundesliga for the first time in their history when midfielder Reinhold Yabo put the 2. Bundesliga side ahead on Monday.
But a wonderful late free-kick from Marcelo Diaz forced extra time at the Wildparkstadion.
Nicolai Muller’s close-range finish then all but guaranteed safety for Hamburg prior to Rene Adler’s stoppage-time penalty save from Rouwen Hennings, which made sure of a 3-2 aggregate success.
Neither side was able to truly threaten in a first half bereft of goalscoring opportunities, but the game exploded into life in a superb second 45 minutes.
Hamburg striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga should have done better when he blazed over the crossbar from close range in the 51st minute.
Karlsruher centre-back Manuel Gulde then saw a header cleared off the line by Diaz before Lasogga was denied by a good save from Dirk Orlishausen.
But Hamburg seemed set for the drop 12 minutes from time as Yabo met Hennings’ lofted ball over the top with an excellent first-time finish under Adler.
The visitors poured forward in search of an equaliser and saw Lasogga hit the post with a deflected header and Johan Djourou have an effort cleared off the line.
Yet Diaz did force an additional 30 minutes when he curled home with a sublime finish after Karlsruher had been adjudged to have handled on the edge of the area.
Hamburg had dominated in extra time and eventually got their reward in the 114th minute thanks to a well-worked team move.
Zoltan Stieber played in Cleber Reis, who sent in a low cross for Muller to tap in and leave Karlsruher needing two goals to earn promotion.
The hosts were awarded a spot-kick for handball in the dying embers, but Adler dived to his left to ensure victory on the night.
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