Berlin: Hamburg came from behind for a 3-1 win over 10-man Hanover 96 to climb to 11th in the Bundesliga on Sunday without injured Dutch star Rafael van der Vaart.
Hamburg’s 30-year-old captain and playmaker van der Vaart has been ruled out for up to four weeks after tearing ankle ligaments in the Netherlands’ goalless draw with Colombia in Amsterdam last week.
But Bert van Marwijk’s Hamburg brushed off the loss of their skipper to claim their first home win in six attempts.
“It was a hard-fought victory for us with both teams under pressure. Hanover are going through a difficult time while we needed to finally win at home,” said Van Marwijk.
“We haven’t improved much, but we are better organised and we gave fewer balls away.”
Hanover’s Hungary midfielder Szabolcs Huszti put his side ahead when he hit the top left corner from 16 metres with 28 minutes gone.
But the hosts responded with Croatia’s Milan Badelj equalising three minutes later before right-wing Maximilian Beister slipped his marker just a minute into the second-half to head home.
Beister then turned provider as he found 19-year-old Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu in space and the attacking midfielder fired home for the third six minutes from time.
Hanover’s Senegal defender Salif Sane was sent off in the dying stages for a second yellow card to compound the guests’ misery.
It was Hanover’s eighth match without a win, their sixth straight away defeat, and saw Mirko Slomka’s side drop to 13th in the league.
Werder Bremen slumped to 12th and their third defeat in four games, as they went down 3-2, despite a late fightback, at home to seventh-placed Mainz, for whom Japan’s Shinji Okazaki scored twice.