Hamburg entertain Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund at the Imtech Arena, a game which really should see only one winner (2.30pm BST, Saturday, Sept 22).
There’s little use in dancing around the facts of this season, Hamburg have been woeful in the league. Zero points from three games and lying in the relegation zone does not spell a good start for Thorsten Fink’s side.
The important arrival for Hamburg over the summer is the return of former captain Rafael van der Vaart. But will the Dutchman be enough to completely revitalise this team?
Van der Vaart made his debut in his second stint with the side in last weekend’s loss away to Frankfurt. He did come close to landing a goal in the first half, with a very good free kick tipped over by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
He was a luxury player at Tottenham, but he will be key for the Bundesliga outfit moving forward.
Striker Heung-Min Son is likely to lead the line for Thorsten Fink‘s team. The Japanese forward managed a goal in the last game and will be looking to build on that this weekend.
It’s a strange one with Hamburg because they do have a number of very good players, including goalkeeper Rene Adler, who signed on a free from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, and Milan Badelj, who arrived from Dinamo Zagreb but is yet to make his debut. Perhaps something positive in the near future for the team to build on, but there’s no running away from how bad they’ve been so far.
Their opposition on Saturday are sure to have a whole host of chances at goal, with Dortmund firing three past Leverkusen last weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s side continued their fine form in midweek by picking up all three points against visitors Ajax in the Champions League.
Robert Lewandowski got his second goal of the season for Dortmund, but Ajax certainly made things difficult for the home side. The form of reigning German champions and the attacking display of a very exciting group of talents, there only seemed to be one outcome at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday night.
I really fancy Dortmund to show the gulf in class between the two sides. Both Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski have picked up goals in recent games for Klopp’s side, and Mario Gotze looks to be taking up an integral position in the team. The young German superstar is always capable of the spectacular around the box.
Thorsten Fink will be looking for a response from his side this weekend, who he has praised for showing good character so far this season. The fact that Dortmund are such overwhelming favourites suggests that all the focus is away from Hamburg. Could they land a surprise win and their first of the new season? Not for me, I’m confident they’ll have to wait yet another week for a win.
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw Dortmund smash five past Hamburg, with the two aforementioned Polish internationals getting two goals each. However, it might be risky business opting for another wide margin. Keep in mind, Hamburg are only losing their games by one or two goals. Unfortunately, they’re struggling to get goals themselves.