Ivica Olic hit an unstoppable shot from outside the area to give SV Hamburg a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen in the northern German derby on Sunday, Nov. 23.
Olic, left, helped lead Hamburg to victory
The Croatia striker left goalkeeper Tim Wiese with no chance when he cut in from the right and hammered a left-foot shot from the corner of the penalty area into the keeper's top right-hand corner.
Wiese had been met by jeers from Hamburg fans for a studs-high challenge on Olic in last season's derby at Hamburg -- and the Croatian provided the perfect response.
"I was surprised myself. That was my best goal yet, but the most important thing was winning the three points," Olic said.
Reconciliatory jersey swap
Olic said there had never been any hard feelings over Wiese's tackle last season, and the two demonstratively swapped shirts inside the stadium at the end of the game.
Wiese said he could do nothing about Olic's 74th-minute strike into the angle of post and crossbar.
"I think it could be the goal of the year. It was a super goal right into the top corner," he said.
The goal settled a scrappy affair in which neither side was able to create much after Paolo Guerrero had given Hamburg an early lead only for Diego to level with a free-kick.
Hamburg, who have not been beaten at home since the defeat by Bremen late last season, are fifth on 26 points, five behind leaders Hoffenheim, while Bremen remain ninth on 20 points.
Hamburg gained an early advantage when Guerrero struck in the sixth minute to rifle the ball in from a narrow angle.
Wiese did well to get down low at the near post to keep out a well-struck Mladen Petric free-kick, but Guerrero reacted quickly to rifle the loose ball past Wiese.
Werder recovered quickly and a Naldo free-kick flashed just wide of the post before the visitors were back on level terms in the 24th minute from another set-piece.
Bastian Reinhardt clipped Diego's heels just outside the area and the Brazilian placed the free-kick wide of the wall and keeper Frank Rost, who got a hand to the ball but was unable to stop the shot.
Spectator causes injury
Baumann, right, was injured by a thrown object
Werder captain Frank Baumann needed treatment after being struck in the face by an object -- believed to be a battery -- thrown from the crowd while joining Diego and team-mates to celebrate the goal near the corner flag.
"It hit me on just above the left eye-brow. It was a shock and painful. There was a little bit of blood but it didn't hinder me," Baumann said.
Hamburg sports director Dietmar Beiersdorfer said: "I want to apologize in the name of SV Hamburg. We don't know who it was but that sort of thing shouldn't happen."
Neither side looked capable of fashioning a chance until Olic's goal, which triggered some desperate efforts by Bremen to get back in the game. But it was Hamburg who came closest when Piotr Trochowski was through in stoppage time only for his shot to be saved by Wiese.
"I can't say the win was deserved but I am very pleased, " Hamburg coach Martin Jol said. "We started well enough. The first 10 minutes were good but then Werder were the better side even though they didn't have any chances."
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said: "We didn't get as much out of the game as we put into it. We played well but couldn't turn our superiority in midfield into goals."
Hoffenheim continued its winning ways
On Saturday, league top scorer Vedad Ibisevic struck twice as Hoffenheim won 3-1 in Cologne to go back on top of the table on 31 points.
Leverkusen lost 2-1 at lowly Arminia Bielefeld to slip to second, level on 28 points with champions Bayern Munich, who defeated bottom club Energie Cottbus 4-1.
Hertha Berlin are fourth on 27 points, a point above Hamburg. Stuttgart meanwhile Sunday sacked coach Armin Veh -- the man who led them to the 2007 league title -- after a poor series continued with a 4-1 defeat at Wolfsburg.