Hamburg earn 1-0 win at Hertha in Bundesliga playoff first leg


A bend cross-shot by Ludovit Reis opens up scoring

Ludovit Reis puts Hamburg SV ahead 1-0 in the first leg of the Bundesliga Relegation play-offs.

Hamburg SV edged closer to a return to the Bundesliga following a four-year absence after beating hosts Hertha Berlin 1-0 in their promotion/relegation playoff first leg on Thursday.

Ludovit Reis' awkward floating cross went into the net off the far post after 57 minutes to give Hamburg a slim advantage ahead of Monday's return leg.

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Hamburg finished third in the second division with Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen winning automatic promotion.

Hertha, coached by Hamburg great Felix Magath, had the ball in the net on the stroke of halftime only for the effort to be ruled offside.

They struggled to bounce back from going behind as Hamburg controlled the pace and shut down spaces quickly.

Hertha, facing a seventh relegation, finished 16th after the last Bundesliga matchday to go into the playoff. Greuther Fuerth and Arminia Bielefeld were relegated from the top division.