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Okazaki heroics give Mainz victory at Hamburg

Shinji Okazaki was the hero as FSV Mainz defeated Hamburg 3-2 in a fascinating Bundesliga contest on the weekend.

The Japanese striker netted a double and provided an assist as Mainz came from behind before Hamburg drew level prior to the visitors finding an injury-time winner at Imtech Arena.

Okazaki cancelled out Hakan Calhanoglu's 21st minute opener when he finished off Yunus Malli's fine pass in the 47th minute before supplying the go-ahead goal for Nicolai Muller three minutes later.

Hamburg ace Rafael van der Vaart was able to make it 2-2 when he scored from close range with just over ten minutes remaining but Okazaki came up with a very late winner, bringing his season tally to eight league goals.

After the match, the former VfB Stuttgart man spoke of his delight at contributing so heavily to the Hinrunde's triumph.

"Scoring two goals obviously makes it a fantastic day for me," he told Bundesliga.com.

"If we can carry on like this, we can climb a few more places and compete a bit higher in the table.

"Getting into the Europa League would be great (is the goal)."

Mainz now sit ninth on the German top flight table with Okazaki sitting just three goals behind Golden Boot leaders Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund) and Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin).

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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