Another beauty from Hakan Calhanoglu helped Hamburger SV to victory on Sunday, and he put his brazen character down to the faith he feels from his team-mates
Another beauty from Hakan Calhanoglu helped Hamburger SV to victory on Sunday, and he put his brazen character down to the faith he feels from his team-mates

Team-work and belief fuelling Hamburg's survival challenge

Hamburg - Few players are blessed with the kind of ability that brings a crowd to the edge of their seats every time they've got the ball at their feet, which is why an air of excitement now accompanies every Hamburger SV game.

Keen eye for goal

The reason is simple: . The youngster has a one-tracked mind on a football pitch and, while his technique and range of passing are remarkable, it is his shooting ability that sets the Turkish midfielder apart, as once again became evident against 1. FC Nürnberg at the weekend.

The 20-year-old, who scored an audacious free-kick from nigh on the halfway line against Borussia Dortmund, recently underlined how trigger-happy he is with no fewer than ten attempts on goal on Sunday. Not since Edin Dzeko took as many shots for VfL Wolfsburg in 2009/10 has another player peppered an opposition goal so persistently in a single game.

"I'm delighted, this was my eighth goal in the Bundesliga," said the former Karlsruher SC midfielder. "I'd never have thought I would score so many goals, but I have a lot of ambition, like the rest of the team, and so it was important that we got the three points."

No 'I' in team

Indeed, a series of positive results have effected an astonishing change at the club. "You can clearly tell that we're all fresher mentally," Calhanoglu continued. "We're totally focused on staying up." Hamburg talisman agreed: "I think our body language was good today. When you play like we did, you usually deserve to win games. Credit should go to the whole team."

Team captain Heiko Westermann was equally upbeat following Hamburg's latest triumph. "What made the difference today was that we wanted it more. In situations like this, individual quality doesn't matter," explained the German international. "It was an emotional 90 minutes - a classic relegation battle - but we were the better side and created the better chances." The side must continue in the same vein if they are to preserve their ever-present status in Germany's top flight.

Feeling the faith

While staying up is understandably the team's primary objective, Calhanoglu has set himself other targets too. "I said after the first half of the season that I wanted to do a lot better in the second half," he said. "Things are working well, and I've got my team-mates to thank for that. They believe in me and are giving me lots of the ball and giving me the freedom to attack. I know where my strengths lie and I want to show them every week."

Yet for all his self-confidence, Calhanoglu is not letting his rise to stardom go to his head: "We need to take a deep breath because we've got another tough task next week with Stuttgart and their new coach Huub Stevens. We know what's coming our way." So too do Stuttgart, who will be keen to keep Calhanoglu at a safe distance, if there is such a place.

Get a taste for Calhanoglu's long-distance accuracy with this goal from over 40 yards out against Dortmund, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.