Hamburger SV took a huge step towards the UEFA Cup Round of 16 following a comfortable victory over NEC Nijmegen at De Goffert.
Two goals in the last five minutes of the first half from Piotr Trochowski and Alex Silva put the visitors in control, and Croatia forward Ivica Olić added a third with 15 minutes remaining to give Martin Jol's side a very healthy advantage with the home leg to come next Thursday.
Hamburg started brightly with Olić in particular causing problems in the hosts' ranks. His 20th-minute cross was headed over by Czech midfielder David Jarolím and seconds later the Bundesliga outfit threatened again, with defender Joris Mathijsen heading Marcell Jansen's cross wide. NEC responded positively with Patrick Pothuizen's close-range effort drawing a smart block from Hamburg keeper Frank Rost, before Arkadiusz Radomski fired over from outside the box.
Trochowski went close for Hamburg before giving his side the lead in the 41st minute, drilling in a free-kick after Milano Koenders had been penalised for handball. Four minutes later, it was two as Mladen Petrić got to the byline and crossed for Silva to apply the simplest of finishes. NEC goalkeeper Gábor Babos was in the thick of the action again soon after the resumption, hanging on to shots from Jansen and Olić.
The German side were creating plenty of openings, many from Trochowski's set-piece deliveries, with Olić and Jansen both going close before the former wrapped up victory. Petrić was again the provider, marauding down the right and squaring for compatriot Olić to smash in and register his fifth goal in this season's UEFA Cup.