The game had an end of season, mid-table feel to it and that was just what the capacity Volksparkstadion crowd got.
It was a tough early opening for both sides, and one in which few chances were created. The major moment of the opening quarter hour fell to HSV and Michael Gregortisch, although his header flew comfortably off-target from Aaron Hunt's corner. Hunt also had an earlier shot bravely blocked, as he seemed keen to prove a point.
His former employers, who were in a rotten run of form, were really struggling to get anything going in an attacking sense and that allowed the hosts to keep the pressure on. A series of corners and set-pieces - again from Hunt - were cleared by Dante and Naldo, who were more active than they would have liked to be.
The Wolves final did forge a way through the stubborn Hamburg midfield and defence. A well-worked move down the wing saw André Schürrle cross for Max Kruse, though the striker couldn't quite get enough contact on the ball and the chance was gone.
That was a sign of things to come and Wolfsburg looked much more comfortable after that opportunity. A free-kick from deep provided the final chance of the half and one Dieter Hecking would have been disappointed to see missed, as Naldo's attempt was parried by Jaroslav Drobny only for Christian Träsch to thrash over the rebound.
Wolfsburg surge secures three points
The start of the second half yielded little in the way of chances, in what was proving to be a game of attrition and patience rather than attacking flair. Naldo fired another long-ranger wide and it was HSV who were struggling to make any headway this time round. There would be an early change in the second half, as Träsch was replaced by Daniel Caligiuri after taking a knock to the face.
Bruno Labbadia responded with an alteration of his own, taking off Pierre-Michel Lasogga for Ivica Olic - in a bid to freshen up the front-line. Just two minutes after coming on, he almost found the opener. A slide rule ball found him on the edge of the area, though his effort could only catch the side-netting.
Wolfsburg then came forward and did so with great gusto. Caligiuri teed up Schürrle, who saw his effort blocked on the line before the Italian was denied by Drobny at the near post. It looked like the game would end goal-less, but it was a spurt from the visitors that paid dividends. Marcel Schäfer's corner was met by Naldo and headed towards the back post, with Luiz Gustavo steaming in to lift the initial effort over Drobny and in.
HSV did their best to find an equaliser, including the introduction of Cleber as an emergency forward, but they couldn't find a way through Wolfsburg. The result moved the Lower Saxony side into eighth and into the top half - removing any fears of an almost improbable relegation. As for the hosts - it's a case of remaining in 11th and, except for a massive mathematical swing, the Bundesliga.