Van der Vaart returns as Hamburg claim point
Published : 20 Jan 2013 17:46:49Rss feed
Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart made his first Hamburg appearance since November on Sunday to help his club secure a Bundesliga point at Nuremberg in a 1-1 draw.
Hamburg were denied all three points after South Korea striker Son Heung-Min hit the post seconds before the final whistle with Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer beaten.
Former Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur star Van der Vaart, 29, has endured a difficult few months after tearing his hamstring in November, then injuring his thigh, but looked sharp playing behind strikers Son and Artjoms Rudnevs.
"The first half was really bad, you can't win a Bundesliga game like that," said the Oranje star, who split from celebrity wife Sylvie, 34, over the winter break.
"We played much better in the second-half, so at the end 1-1 was okay. It was good to get out there again."
Hamburg took the lead on 70 minutes when Latvia striker Rudnevs headed home, only for Czech Republic striker Tomas Pekhart to level for the hosts five minutes later.
The point moves Hamburg up to ninth while Nuremberg, whose coach Michael Wiesinger was taking charge of his first Bundesliga match, are 15th, just above the relegation places.
On Saturday, league leaders Bayern Munich enjoyed a 2-0 win at home against bottom side Greuther Fuerth.
Striker Mario Mandzukic scored either side of half-time for Bayern, who had pulled off a midweek coup by announcing they had persuaded Pep Guardiola, who won 14 titles in four years at Barcelona, to be their new head coach from July.
Fuerth have just one league win all season and Bayern enjoyed more than 75 percent ball possession to dominate their Bavarian neighbours at the Allianz Arena to keep Munich nine points clear of second place Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayer enjoyed a 3-1 win at home to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, although the first-half was briefly held-up after away fans lit flares in their block.
Bayer bolted into a 2-0 led with two goals in as many minutes as Poland defender Sebastian Boenisch, then striker Stefan Kiessling netted.
Germany forward Andre Schuerrle made sure of the three points with the third, before Frankfurt midfielder Alexander Meier scored a late consolation goal, his 12th of the season.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund stayed in touch in third place with an emphatic 5-0 victory at Werder Bremen in sub-zero temperatures.
Mainz were held to a goalless draw at home by Freiburg as German-American striker Shawn Parker was sent off for the hosts after earning his second yellow a minute from time.
Hoffenheim remain in the bottom three and seven points from safety after a 0-0 draw at home to Moenchengladbach.
On Friday, Schalke 04 earned their first win in seven league games, dating back to November, with a 5-4 win over Hanover to give new coach Jens Keller his first Bundesliga win.
Tottenham Hotspur-bound Lewis Holtby created two goals and scored Schalke's fifth as eight goals were scored in the second-half.
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