Dream goal by van der Vaart - HSV beat Gladbach 1-0
Rafael van der Vaart scored his second goal of the season with a shot from 25 metres out to give HSV a slender but deserved 1-0 victory.
After beating double winners Borussia Dortmund 4-1 away last weekend, HSV continued their winning ways by beating the other Borussia – Mönchengladbach - 1-0 in a Bundesliga matchday 22 clash in front of 54,558 at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon (16.02.13). The home side produced a solid performance and were rightly rewarded by a dream strike by Rafael van der Vaart, who scored with a trademark shot from 25 metres out. For the Dutch master it was only his second league goal of the season but certainly worth waiting for. That 24th minute strike was enough to beat brave Gladbach and lifted the Rothosen to sixth place in the Bundesliga table.
After beating the reigning Bundesliga champions and DFB Cup holders Dortmund 4-1 at the sold out Signal Iduna Park last weekend, the euphoria in Hamburg was understandably huge. That joy was short lived however, as the news filtered through that Germany and Hamburg keeper René Adler would miss the visit of Gladbach because of an abdominal muscle injury. That paved the way for a first start in ten months for Czech stopper Jaroslav Drobny. Jeff Bruma was suspended after being sent off in Dortmund. His place went to Slobodan Rajkovic in central defence. Milan Badelj returned after suspension to play in front of the back four replacing Tomas Rincon.
Good start crowned by dream strike
Ajrtoms Rudnevs fired an initial warning shot after only three minutes. His "partner in crime" Heung Min Son followed suit only three minutes later after a superb solo run. That attacking approach allowed the visitors - who were only 40 hours beforehand drawing 3-3 at home with Lazio Rome in an Europa League clash - to have plenty of room to operate in. Drobny had to use all of his considerable frame to prevent Hermann from opening the scoring. The almost capacity crowd were thrilled to see an entertaining game with both sides playing attacking football. On 20 minutes Dennis Aogo ventured forward in his new midfield role and let fly with a stinging shot which only flew past ter Stegen's right hand post by the smallest of margins. Only four minutes later the home side combined well as they advanced into the Gladbach half. Rudnevs found van der Vaart with a square pass some 25 metres out in a central position. The Dutch playmaker unleashed a real rocket shot which flew into the top right hand corner of the net, sending the majority of the huge crowd into raptures of joy. What a goal! And that after all of the off field problems Rafa has recently endured. The score line remained that way until halftime.
Determined home side - gritty visitors
After the break Gladbach showed no signs of fatigue - on the contrary. They battled hard in their search for an equaliser. HSV remained slightly on top, creating good scoring chances for first Rajkovic then Rudnevs. The home side were denied a penalty as Jantschke appeared to foul Aogo inside the Gladbach box. But the whistle of match referee Robert Hartmann remained silent. HSV continued to protect their slender lead, and it was hearts in mouths time as Gladbach's Arango took a free kick from around 20 metres out, from exactly the same position he had scored from against Lazio. Luckily, Drobny was up to the task and averted the danger. Fifteen minutes from the end it could have gone either way as Gladbach battled hard and HSV just about kept them at bay.
Lots of effort in the latter stages
It was a real ding dong battle towards the end during which time the home side attacked Gladbach as soon as they had the ball, while at the back captain Heiko Westermann and Rajkovic played well together, usually nipping any Gladbach danger in the bud. Second half substitute Marcus Berg missed a good scoring chance at the far post following fine approach work involving Rudnevs and Aogo. The little-used Swede nodded the ball over the bar when it looked easier to score.
Hannover up next
HSV played out the remaining minutes to secure a second consecutive victory, which was not as deserved as the one in Dortmund but deserved all the same. The players celebrated with the fans after Hartmann blew time on what was an entertaining game. Next weekend the Rothosen make the short trip to Niedersachsen, where northern rivals Hannover 96 await them on matchday 23.
Hamburger SV: Drobny - Diekmeier, Rajkovic, Westermann, Jansen - Badelj - Skjelbred (75.Arslan), Aogo - van der Vaart (88. Berg) - Son (75.Beister), Rudnevs
Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Stranzl, Alvaro Dominguez, Daems - Xhaka (82. de Jong), Marx - Rupp (66.Younes), Arango - Herrmann (87. Nordtveit) - Hanke
Goal: 1:0 van der Vaart (24.)
Booked: Badelj / Herrmann
Referee: Robert Hartmann (Wangen)