Former Dinamo Zagreb captain Milan Badelj impressed for new club Hamburg SV Tuesday night in front of 47,127 at Imtech Arena in Hamburg. The 23 year-old defensive midfielder started and played the full 90 minutes for Hamburg, assisting on Maximilian Beister’s 52nd minute rocket past Schalke keeper Lars Unnerstall. Badelj played a perfect through-ball after winning the ball at midfield to keep the German onside and Beister had enough room to put Hamburg up 1-0. Artoms Rudņevs doubled the lead for the home side 13 minutes later before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put his own rebound in off a blocked penalty in the 80th minute to make it 2-1 Hamburg.
With Schalke pressing for a draw late in the game, Hamburg’s Dennis Aogo was fouled in the box and Badelj stepped up to the spot and hit home for the 3-1 victory; his first goal with the German club. With Hamburg claiming a win over third place Schalke, they now sit only four points behind a Champions League berth in the tight Bundesliga table.
More importantly, Milan Badelj has been playing every minute for Hamburg this season; holding his own physically in the midfield while setting up his teammates with key passes. Now, he has his first Hamburg goal to his name and has to be Croatia’s #1 for the defensive midfielder role the way he has consistently played this season.
The days of Ognjen Vukojević and Tomislav Dujmović are surely over.
Badelj assist 0:08, penalty 1:10