Germany: Hamburg escapes Bundesliga relegation zone with win
BERLIN (AP) — Gojko Kacar scored late for Hamburger SV to beat Mainz 2-1 and escape the Bundesliga's relegation zone, while Borussia Moenchengladbach won 2-1 at Hertha Berlin to reclaim third place on Sunday.
Kacar scored Hamburg's winner with three minutes remaining, blasting home at the second attempt after Mainz failed to clear a corner.
"It's a dream," Kacar said.
Hamburg went ahead in the 37th minute when Julian Baumgartlinger's attempted clearance of Heiko Westermann's cross looped over his own goalkeeper and into the net.
Yunus Malli equalized in the 76th after Pablo de Blasis' dummy of Jairo Samperio's cross allowed his fellow substitute a simple finish.
Mainz had last defender Daniel Brosinski sent off in the final minute for fouling Artjoms Rudnevs. TV replays suggested it was a harsh decision.
Hamburg moved a point clear of Freiburg in the relegation playoff place after its second successive win.
"We're nowhere near through yet. We've put our rivals under pressure," Westermann said.
The game was overshadowed by a serious knee injury to Mainz midfielder Elkin Soto. The 34-year-old Colombian was carried off on a stretcher in the first half after sustaining the injury in a tussle with Rafael van der Vaart.
"I'm very sorry. His knee went. It didn't look good," said Van der Vaart, who was going for the ball.
It was likely Soto's last game for Mainz with his contract expiring at the end of the season, though club general manager Christian Heidel offered him a contract extension in light of the injury.
"The knee was no longer where it should be. I've never seen anything like it," Heidel said. "He can sign another contract. Mainz won't leave players stuck in such a situation. That's why there's an offer of a one-year contract."
Soto has played 190 league games for Mainz since joining the side in 2007.
"All our thoughts are with him. Everything else is immaterial," Mainz midfielder Johannes Geis said.
Moenchengladbach substitute Ibrahima Traore's 85th-minute strike moved his side within two points of second-place Wolfsburg and restored its two-point advantage over Bayer Leverkusen.
Max Kruse opened the scoring in the 11th, set up by Raffael after Hertha midfielder Per Skjelbred lost the ball.
Valentin Stocker equalized two minutes later getting his head to the rebound after Salomon Kalou's initial effort struck the crossbar.
'Gladbach missed a number of chances to take the lead until Traore cut in from the right and let fly with a curling effort inside the far post.
"It was a very, very hard piece of work," 'Gladbach coach Lucien Favre said after his 100th Bundesliga victory. The Swiss previously coached Hertha.