Hamburg held in relegation play-off

Hamburg's Bundesliga future hangs in the balance after they were held to a goalless draw in the first leg of their relegation playoff against Greuther Fuerth on Thursday.

Mirko Slomka's side must put in a better showing in the second leg on Sunday to maintain their status as a top-flight team for the 52nd consecutive season, but a score draw will suffice due to the away goal rule.

During the 90 minutes at Hamburg's sold-out Volksparkstadion, the second-tier side controlled large parts of the match, but were unable to score against Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny, who had replaced the injured Rene Adler in goal only minutes before the kick-off. Slomka feels his team were lucky not to be beaten after failing to make the most of their home advantage.

"We did not attack well in the first half, despite wanting to permanently keep them busy," Slomka said afterwards. "The second half was much better. But in the end we can be glad to have not conceded a goal."

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart has called for an improved showing and insisted they remain confident.

"We still have a good chance of winning and we know we need to improve for Sunday," he said. "We're staying positive, though. A club as great as this belongs in the Bundesliga."

Germany international Marcell Jansen, who started the match bench, vowed that things will change in the second leg at Fuerth.

"We will run and fight, we need to work hard for our luck," he said. Hamburg will however need to break Mirko Slomka's away curse. The former Hannover coach has lost all of his last 15 Bundesliga matches away from home.

With that and the weak first leg performance in mind, local daily newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt painted a bleak picture, saying: "0-0 - Can you still be saved? HSV nearly without a chance against Fuerth" on the front page.

Hamburg are the only team to have played all 51 Bundesliga seasons.