As the clock ticked down in their relegation play-off it looked as if Hamburg’s 52 year stay in the Budesliga was coming to an end at the expense of Karlsruhe on Monday.
Bruno Labaddia’s side trailed 2-1 on aggregate as the game entered the 90th minute at the Wildparkstadion, and any hope looked forlorn.
But when Marcelo Diaz curled in a free-kick in the dying second, extra-time was enforced and order restored.
The game looked to be heading towards the agony and ecstasy of penalties, but Nicolai Muller had other ideas, putting Die Rothosen ahead with five minutes remaining.
Even the awarding of a last-minute penalty did nothing to halt Hamburg’s progress, Rene Adler saving the spot-kick against his old club, to ensure survival was secured.
With that unlikely win they remain the only German side never to be relegated from the Bundesliga.
But where does their escape rank amongst other unlikely survivals?
An eight point gap to overturn in the final week of the season sounds impossible, but the Latics managed to pull off the feat in the Premier League’s maiden campaign.
But unlikely victories against the relative giants of Aston Villa and Liverpool, while their rivals Crystal Palace dawdled, gave them hope.
With Palace going down tamely to Arsenal on the final day, even a Matt Le Tissier hat-trick for Southampton wasn’t enough to stop Oldham rampaging to a 4-3 win and Premiership safety.
Arguably the great escape to judge all great escapes against; Jimmy Glass’s heroics spared the Brunton Park outfit from a drop into the Conference, but not for his exploits between the sticks.
With their nearest rivals Scarborough securing a 1-1 draw, the Cumbrians knew that a point wasn’t enough against Plymouth.
So when they got a corner in the dying seconds, it made sense to send up on loan ‘keeper Jimmy Glass. As the ball scrambled around the box, who should it fall to but a waiting Glass, who ‘smashed’ it into the net to secure league football for another year.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1998-99
Three wins in a row had given the Germans some hope of survival in 1999 – although not a lot. They needed to beat Champions League chasing Kaiserslautern at least 4-1, and hope rivals Nurnberg slipped up.
With Nurnberg losing 2-0 and Frankfurt racing to a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes to go, things looked on the up for Die Adler.
But when their rivals pulled a goal back in their game, it got desperate for Frankfurt. That was until Jan Aage Fjortoft (remember him?) was put through and poked it past the onrushing keeper to keep his side up on ‘Goals Scored’.
Roy Hodgson’s men were set to be sent down on goal-difference as they trailed Manchester City 2-0 at half-time with three games left of the 2007-08 season.
But when Diomansy Kamara completed an epic second-half comeback with a last minute winner ears began to prick.
A win against fellow strugglers Birmingham next time out meant their fate was in their own hands on the final day, a day that will go down in Craven Cottage history books for Danny Murphy’s second-half winner against Tottenham to maintain their top-flight status.
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