Vincent Kompany's second-half strike earned Hamburger SV three points from their UEFA Cup Group D opener to dampen the title celebrations of newly-crowned Norwegian champions SK Brann.
The German side scored three times in the opening 34 minutes against Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart at the weekend, but with Håkon Opdal in sublime form in the home goal the visitors really had to earn their breakthrough. That finally arrived two minutes past the hour when Kompany found the bottom-left corner with a shot from distance, and there was no way back for Brann, who trudged off the Bergen pitch empty-handed.
It had all been very different on Monday, when Stabaek IF's 2-1 defeat by Viking FK handed Brann an unassailable lead at the Norwegian summit and a first Tippeligaen title in 44 years. Yet coach Mons Ivar Mjelde insisted the champagne would be left on ice until after the Hamburg match and it may now leave a bitter taste after his side were resolutely outclassed. Opdal had already denied Piotr Trochowski and Mohamed Zidan before pulling off a stunning save on 27 minutes to keep out Trochowski again.
No way back
Brann could not escape their own half. Zidan and Ivica Olić forced Opdal into further saves while only a last-ditch Ólafur Örn Bjarnason block denied David Jarolím; but a Hamburg goal was a matter of time. It finally came when Kompany, who had skied two earlier efforts, made it third-time lucky. The onus fell to Brann but having mustered a solitary Thorstein Helstad shot before then, it was a tough ask. Petter Vaagan Moen and Helstad tried their luck but it was Huub Stevens' side that looked the most likely scorers, and only further Opdal heroics prevented Jarolím, Guy Demel and then Olić from making it 2-0.