Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Hamburg get three valuable points in relegation battle

AP , BERLIN

Hamburg's Mehdi Mahdavikia celebrates his goal against VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga at the AOL-Arena in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

Mehdi Mahdavikia scored a 60th-minute goal on Sunday to help once last-place Hamburg SV edge VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 and pick up valuable points in the Bundesliga's heated relegation battle.

Hamburg did without the services of Dutch coach Huub Stevens the whole week. He flew in for the game from the Netherlands, where his wife is in an induced coma after a stomach operation.

Rafael van der Vaart's back heel pass set up David Jarolim for an attempt that was blocked, which Mahdavikia put back for the winning goal. Hamburg moved into 10th place after starting the day 14th -- two slots above relegation.

Van der Vaart also hit the crossbar and right post with attempts as Hamburg ran its streak to five wins and two draws.

"We knew the goal would come some time and thankfully it did," Van der Vaart said. "We're happy with the way we played."

Van der Vaart has been a key to Hamburg's rise from last place, having scored five times in six matches before this game.

Bochum escaped the relegation zone when Fanis Gekas and Joel Epalle helped the club to a 2-0 win over Hannover 96, dealing the seventh-place club a blow in its battle for a UEFA Cup berth.

There are now 11 teams separated by six points, with two destined to be relegated.

"It's crazy, this relegation fight -- there is no middle of the table at all," Hamburg player Bastian Reinhardt said.

Also, it was: Arminia Bielefeld 1, Borussia Dortmund 0; FC Nuremberg 2, Hertha Berlin 1; Stuttgart 3, Alemannia Aachen 1; Borussia Moenchengladbach 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 1; Mainz 05 1, Bayer Leverkusen 3; Bayern Munich 2, Schalke 0; and Energie Cottbus 0, Werder Bremen 0.

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