Hamburg vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf: Final score 2-1, Van der Vaart bags a brace

Stuart Franklin

Rafael Van der Vaart is trying to lead Hamburg to Europe next year, and a victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf is a good start.

Hamburg picked up their second win a row on Sunday and kept pace with the race for Europe with a 2-1 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Rafael Van der Vaart, wearing the captain's armband, was the star of the day. Fabian Giefer made a fantastic save on Van der Vaart's acrobatic shot from a Marcel Jansen cross, but the ball hung up in the air long enough for the Dutchman to head into the open net for the 1-0 lead after fourteen minutes.

The hosts kept pressing their attack and were rewarded with the second goal in the 20th minute, and it was Van der Vaart again. This time, he dribbled between two defenders and shot the ball between Giefer's legs for the 2-0 advantage.

Düsseldorf pulled one back ten minutes later on a Dani Schahin header. Axel Bellinghausen swung in a free kick, and Schahin was left unmarked for an easy header.

Throughout the second half, Düsseldorf kept pushing forward for an equalizer. They nearly had one in stoppage time when Martin Latka's header smashed against the crossbar.

Hamburg are in eighth place after the win but sit only one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt for a place in the Europa League and two points behind Schalke for a place in the Champions League.

Düsseldorf fail to make any progress in the race against relegation. While they are three points clear and safe, they've only managed to pick up one point in their last four matches. It doesn't get any easier next week when they face Borussia Dortmund.

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