Rafael van der Vaart (r.) savoured a special derby win for HSV against Bremen on Matchday 19, in which both Heung-Min Son (m.) and Dennis Aogo (l.) scored
Rafael van der Vaart (r.) savoured a special derby win for HSV against Bremen on Matchday 19, in which both Heung-Min Son (m.) and Dennis Aogo (l.) scored

'High time we beat them'

Hamburg - The 98th Nordderby, a five-goal thriller with two red cards, went Hamburger SV’s way for the first time in four attempts on Sunday as SV Werder Bremen slumped to their second defeat of 2013.

Typical Derby

Six points now separate the two northern rivals after HSV's 3-2 triumph at the Imtech Arena, with the sun, and the Son, shining over the Alster. Heung-Min Son got his name on the scoresheet for the first time since Matchday 12, setting HSV on their way to a win that was long overdue according to Rafael van der Vaart.

effort was an important one, cancelling out an early strike by Bremen's Assani Lukimya, who rose highest to glance a header past Rene Adler for the opening goal just nine minutes in. But Hamburg are made of stern stuff these days and they hit back to take control in the second half. Dennis Aogo and Artjoms Rudnevs both found the net in the second half and, although Sokratis Papastathopoulos made it 3-2 with a low drive, the hosts held on for a satisfying victory.

To make matters worse for Bremen, they ended the game with just nine me on the pitch after captain Clemens Fritz and Marko Arnautovic were both sent off for second bookable offences. by contrast, & Co go to savour a win made all the sweeter by the fact that Hamburg are now the highest-placed northern team in the division, ahead of both VfL Wolfsburg and Hannover 96 as well as Werder.

Had been coming

“It was high time we beat Bremen,” said van der Vaart. “It was a fantastic win, which we earned thanks to our second-half performance.” That action-packed 45 minutes was worth the entry fee alone, as the momentum of the game swung this way and that before the hosts established a grip on proceedings late on.“This game had everything that belongs to a derby,” said Marcel Jansen, reserving special praise for left-sided partner , who finally opened his Bundesliga account for HSV in his 117th appearance. “He and I get on perfectly,” he said. “We were able to create plenty of danger again out there today.”

It was also a first for Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink, who, after three defeats, finally found out what it was like to win this particular derby. “A year ago, we wouldn’t have got back into the game having fallen behind the way we did,”Fink said. “I’m really pleased with the way my team are developing. We have moved onto the next level.” The next step is a place in the top six, from which the Red Shorts are now separated by just one point.

Come a long way

Sitting in the relative safety of ninth in the league table is far cry from where Hamburg found themselves at the beginning of the season. Having been dumped out of the DFB Cup by Karlsruher SC, they then lost their opening three league games.

The ship has been steadied since, however, with the return of van der Vaart and the improvement in form of Son and Rudnevs. Aogo and Jansen are also striking up a better understanding with each passing game. As the German top flight's only ever-presents, HSV fans will allow themselves to espouse some lofty expectations in theirs, and the Bundesliga's 50th campaign.

Ben Gladwell