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The Rothosen trainer hopes the absence of one of his key players will not have a detrimental effect on his team as they head into their final match of 2012 against Bayer Leverkusen

Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink has urged his players to move on from the injury suffered by playmaker Rafael van der Vaart, though he admitted that the side would miss the player's ability.

The Netherlands international injured his hamstring against Fortuna Dusseldorf at the end of November and looks likely to be missing until the New Year, but Fink wants his team to realise that they can win without their talisman.

"It is important that the players see that sometimes we will have to be without Rafael, though we need him back desperately," he told Bild.

"We have a chance of qualifying for Europe. If other teams falter, we are there. If we are consistent, we could play internationally."

Rothosen are just three points off the Champions League places in the Bundesliga after picking up 24 points from their opening 16 matches of the season, and Fink is confident his side can end 2012 with a victory when they take on second-placed Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

He continued: "We have 24 points. We go with confidence to Leverkusen, where we can play with no pressure. Why should not we score?"

Fink has turned the Imtech Arena outfit into challengers for a European berth after taking over at the club in October 2011 when they were struggling towards the bottom of the league table.

And he is pleased with the strides Hamburg have made in his first 14 months at the helm.

He added: "The whole club has developed. Everything is much more professional.

"Also, I have developed myself as a coach, as well as the team. Our mentality has improved by 100 per cent."

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