HANOVER, March 17 (Bundesliga) - Relegation-troubled Hamburg took a point from UEFA Cup-chasing Hannover which may well be priceless come the end of the season.
Neither side will be overjoyed with a draw, but both will be thankful to have come away with something to show for their efforts.
Hannover had the first chance of the game and they almost profited from a Hamburg defensive error in the opening minute.
Hanno Balitsch crossed the ball from the right-wing which put defender Bastian Reinhardt in trouble and his miscontrol almost squirmed inside Frank Rost's near post.
That scare averted, Hamburg looked to register at the other end and Rafael van der Vaart was the man involved.
The former Ajax midfielder worked his way into space and from eight yards out he brought a fine save from Robert Enke between the hosts' posts.
It was then Hannover's turn to go close when Szabolcs Huszti's free-kick was met by Dariusz Zuraw's head, only for Enke to pull off an outstanding save.
The home side had the game's best chance, spurned, unbelievably, by Jan Rosenthal.
Jiri Stajner made ground down the right wing and whipped the ball into the centre where Rosenthal failed to make clean contact with the ball from three yards out and it slid past the post as the half drew to a close.
At the restart, substitute Silvio Schroter shot wide from all of 40 yards for Hannover before Alexander Laas' fired just past the post from half that distance at the other end.
Van der Vaart should have scored with a header from a Piotr Trotchowski cross and the latter went close shortly after.
Right at the end, Hamburg were denied what would have been the winner.
Boubacar Sanogo, on as a sub, saw Enke save his shot, and the rebound fell to Mehdi Mahdavikia, whose effort was again parried clear by the prone goalkeeper.
Collecting the ball, Trotchowiski rattled the ball back goalwards, but it flew wide and the game ended in an entertaining stalemate.