Former Tottenham Hotspur favourite Rafael van der Vaart couldn’t hide his delight after helping Hamburg stave off a Bundesliga relegation with a 2-1 extra-time play-off victory over Karlsruhe.
The Dutch international is in his second spell with Hamburg, joining the club in the summer of 2012 following a successful two-year stint at White Hart Lane.
However, increased competition saw him return to Germany where he has since endured a tough time with Hamburg going through a number of different managers and battling against the drop.
The Bundesliga outfit – nicknamed the Dinosaurs – are the only top-flight club to have played every single campaign in Germany’s top division, unlike giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
That historic record, however, has been under massive threat in recent weeks as first Hamburg lifted themselves out of the bottom two on the final day of the season.
Against the odds, they secured 16th spot at the expense of Freiburg and were subsequently placed in a two-legged play-off with promotion chasing Karlsruhe of the second division.
Following a 1-1 draw in Hamburg, Van der Vaart’s side produced a stunning last-minute equaliser to take the game to extra time before notching a winner only a minute before a potential penalty shoot-out.
That goal, coupled with an extraordinary last-minute penalty save from the Hamburg shot-stopper, preserved the club’s historic record for at least one more year and sparked wild celebrations.