Hamburger SV took a giant stride towards the UEFA Cup Round of 16 by securing a comfortable victory at the home of Swiss title-holders FC Zürich.
Despite the early blow of an injury to captain Rafael van der Vaart, the Bundesliga club took control of this tie through second-half strikes from David Jarolím, Ivica Olić and Piotr Trochowski. Zürich's sole consolation came two minutes from time with an Eric Hassli goal. The contest concludes in Germany on 21 February.
Van der Vaart injured
Before his enforced withdrawal on the half-hour, playmaker Van der Vaart had provided an attacking threat for Hamburg – particularly with an audacious attempt to lob goalkeeper Johnny Leoni. The home custodian came to the rescue on that occasion, while Van der Vaart's evening ended with a heavy challenge from a Zürich defender, José Paolo Guerrero coming on in his stead.
Hamburg in front
The breakthrough in this first leg at the Letzigrund arrived in the 49th minute. Olić crossed a ball into the area and Guerrero laid it off, allowing Jarolím to score with a first-time shot. Van der Vaart's replacement also inspired the second goal, beating defender Hannu Tihinen down the right and supplying a centre which Olić tapped in at the near post. Guerrero then nearly got the third, only to send a free header wide.
Instead, Trochowski was next on the scoresheet after 77 minutes when his free-kick was misjudged by goalkeeper Leoni and trickled over the line. Local pride was restored a little through another set-piece, late on from Hassli, which deflected off both Hamburg No1 Frank Rost and the post, before lodging in the net.