Head coach Thorsten Fink heaped praise on his Hamburg side after their 3-1 win over Schalke in the Bundesliga on Tuesday.
Hamburg bounced back from a disappointing defeat against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday to claim a fourth home win of the season and Fink believes the performance was their best so far this campaign.
Up against the third-placed side in Germany’s top flight, Hamburg went 2-0 up 20 minutes into the second half and then resisted Schalke’s attempts at a comeback to move into eight on the Bundesliga table.
“We played a very good game,” Fink said.
“Actually, it was our best game of the season.
“We were aggressive and we wanted to hurt Schalke with a healthy aggression.
“My team showed that they wanted to win this game.
“We were outstanding.”
While Fink was keen to praise his players, the 45-year-old head coach has warned them he expects a similar performance away to Wolfsburg on Sunday.
“I think that we absolutely deserved this win,” Fink said.
“Nevertheless, we’ve got to look ahead to the game on Sunday now.
“We played extremely well today and I expect a performance like this on Sunday too.”
The result leaves Schalke 10 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Schalke head coach Huub Stevens insisted the team’s European commitments were no excuse for their poor performance against Hamburg.
“In my opinion a professional footballer has to cope with that double burden but we’re in a period where one additional day of rest can be extremely important,” Stevens said.
“That should not be an excuse.
“Maybe that has been the reason for our poor performance, I don’t know, but I say it again, that’s no excuse and I think a professional must be able to play three times a week.”