Tottenham cult hero returns to help his team battle potential first ever relegation

Imtech Arena - Hamburger SV - Hamburg

Rafael Van Der Vaart is back in action - and at a timely moment for Hamburg SV.

Under Harry Redknapp Rafael van der Vaart RVDV became something of a cult hero at White Hart Lane. However RVDV was one of the first players Andre Villas-Boas cast aside when he took over at Tottenham Hotspur - the Dutchman’s mercurial style not akin to the AVB philosophy. Thebargain buy from Real Madrid was simply not the Portuguese’s cup of tea - and was allowed to re-join former team Hamburg SV in the summer of 2012.

It was a move that left many a Spurs fan scratching their heads - and Hamburg fans rubbing their hands, because the Imtech Arena is possibly the only other place where his presence is more welcome than at White Hart Lane.

And RVDV loves it at the club.

His current deal expires in 2015 at the age of 32 - but he is already talking about a two-year extension which would take him to the age of 34.

In his injury prone career that might be retirement age and speaking to Bild last year he said:

"I want to continue as long as possible in the best job in the world. And if HSV wants me as a footballer after my contract ends in 2015 , then I would imagine it would be good."

But to stay at HSV he is going to have to help keep them up.

Van Der Vaart is back from a thigh problem to face Bayern Munich on Saturday in a crunch Bundesliga tie.

Hamburg are in serious risk of suffering relegation to the 2.Bundesliga for the first time in their history this season - and they need points desperately if they are going to stay up.

You see, survival on the football pitch could mean survival off of it.

Hamburg are said to be in incredible debt and the relegation could be a body blow to the club. The likes of Rene Adler, Hakan Calhanoglu and of course Van der Vaart himself would be cast into serious doubt - as costs would need to be cut.

The HSV manager Mirko Slomka has spoken about his return - suggesting it could be key:

“Recently, we were not effective enough. The goalscoring tally in recent games (is something) we have to change. I am pleased that he will return. We are much too weak going forward.”

And if he truly wants to stay at HSV for the rest of his career he will need to be at his best in their remaining two games of the season.

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