|J||Club Brugge||Shakhtar Donetsk|
Before SK Rapid Wien played Hamburger SV in their UEFA Europa League Group C opener, some critics had suggested that Austrians should stick to winter sports. Rapid's 3-0 win suggested otherwise.
A free-kick by Rapid's German playmaker Steffen Hofmann opened the scoring before Nikica Jelavić doubled the lead just before half-time. Any thoughts of a comeback from the German league leaders were ended by Christopher Drazan's 76th-minute clincher, just after the fans had heralded the famous Rapid quarter-hour, in which the Hutteldorf-based side have scored plenty of goals in the past, roared on by their supporters.
"This victory is a huge success for us," said Rapid coach Peter Pacult. "Three points are good, but there are still five games to go. Before the match, some people said that Austrians are only good at skiing. We proved them wrong." However, despite the defeat of the mighty Hamburg, he added: "Qualifying against Aston Villa still is the bigger achievement to me."
Victory was also sweet for Hofmann, who was deemed too lightweight for the Bundesliga in his days at FC Bayern München. The 29-year-old's performance showed why he has won cult status among Rapid fans. "It was a tough game, we had to do a lot of work," Hoffman said. "It has really paid off. Three-nil is a superb result, but it's only the first step. More must follow."
More will certainly be needed in this competition by Hamburg, who have 13 points from five Bundesliga games but came unstuck in Vienna. "Our defence was not efficient enough, we didn't put in enough challenges," said Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia. "Rapid gave us a hard time after going two up, they defended with passion. We deserved this defeat. I wasn't surprised by the strength of Rapid."
Hamburg midfielder Piotr Trochowski, not his usual influential self, added: "We were not aggressive enough. When you lose a game, you've always underestimated your opponents. Now we have to forget about this game and look forward to the next match."
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