SK Rapid Wien left the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadion rocking as first-half goals from Steffen Hofmann and Nikica Jelavić set up a shock 3-0 UEFA Europa League victory over Hamburger SV.
After a breakneck opening period Hofmann, Rapid's German captain, broke the deadlock in rather sedate fashion ten minutes before half-time. His free-kick from the right wing was innocuous enough but Frank Rost stalled fatally, the lightest of touches from Jerome Boateng confirming its passage into the far corner. Hamburg, fractious at best, were 2-0 down at the interval and though they improved after the restart the Group C spoils never looked like leaving Vienna, Christopher Drazan confirming victory late on.
Backed by an effervescent crowd of 49,850 the Grün-Weissen were bright throughout and could have been ahead inside three minutes when Yasin Pehlivan fired just wide from distance. It was a sign of things to come for a HSV side struggling to find the fluency that has taken them to the Bundesliga summit this term. Jelavić was causing all manner of problems and midway through the half it took Boateng's last-ditch intervention to deny him an opener after a fine through-ball from Hofmann. It was only a fleeting reprieve, however, and former FC Bayern München trainee Hofmann soon broke the deadlock, sparking delirious celebrations in the stands.
They had barely subsided when Jelavić made it 2-0 a minute before the interval. Veli Kavlak outmuscled Dennis Aogo and fired a low centre across the face of goal that beat the unbalanced Boateng, and Jelavić pounced. It was a hammer blow for the visitors, who could have taken the lead themselves had Markus Berg not contrived to limply fire wide on 26 minutes when clean through. Mladen Petrić and substitute Jonathan Pitroipa gave Hamburg greater impetus but despite the animated gesturing of Peter Pacult on the Rapid bench a comeback was never on. And 14 minutes from time 18-year-old replacement Drazan made sure of it, collecting a long punt from keeper Helge Payer and firing in from the edge of the box.