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Apr 22, 2013

Van der Vaart eyes top-four finish

New Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart believes "everything is possible" after the 2-1 victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf left them two points behind the Champions League places.

A run of three straight defeats had left Hamburg struggling to remain in European contention, but back-to-back 2-1 wins over Mainz and Dusseldorf have put them back on track.

Ahead of their game at fourth-placed Schalke, Van der Vaart talked up the possibility of breaking into Europe's elite competition.

"We are getting closer and closer in the table," he said after Saturday's victory. "It's nice to be where we are and to be able to achieve something during the run-in. It's looking very good for us."

Van der Vaart, who scored both Hamburg's goals against Dusseldorf, had been handed the captaincy prior to the victory over Mainz and the Netherlands international said he has been buoyed by his new role.

"I enjoy taking on responsibility and the team doesn't make it too hard for me," the 30-year old said. "The confidence is there and that makes it easier for me."

Hamburg have four games remaining to book their place in the top four, and Van der Vaart is determined to secure a victory over Schalke in their next outing and seize the initiative.

"Everything is still possible," the Netherlands international said. "Now only Schalke counts."

Hamburg have endured a rollercoaster season, finding themselves in the relegation places in September and then briefly sitting fourth the following month. They are now eighth, and coach Torsten Fink is delighted that they are still in a position to make something of their campaign.

"Just like at the beginning of the season, we came back after three straight defeats," Fink said. "That is not to be taken for granted in a period when the season seems to be over."

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