17:30 (BST), Saturday 21st October, Volksparkstadion (Hamburg, Germany), BT Sport 3
Hamburg will once again host the top spieler of the week as the Volksparkstadion becomes the centre of attention when they host Bayern Munich. With new manager Jupp Heynckes in charge, Munich strolled to a comfortable 5-0 win against Freiburg in the league last weekend.
Hamburg are hanging by a thread once again having failed to win in their last six. A result against the Bundesliga champions could easily rejuvenate the team. Can Markus Gisdol’s Hamburg stop the rot? Or will Bayern continue their quest to claim the top spot in the league with another win?
Last Time Out
Mainz 3-2 Hamburg (Bundesliga)
Hamburg made the journey to Mainz on Matchday 8 in search of their first league win since the second week of the season. It would be Mainz who took the lead, thanks to an Alexandru Maxim goal in the opening two minutes. Hamburg followed up with a quick reply when Mainz failed to clear from defence, Walace hammering home past former Hamburg keeper Rene Adler.
After the equaliser, Mainz went on to assert themselves and regained the lead when Stefan Bell headed home from close range. Shortly after, Danny Latza’s effort from distance was spilled by Christian Mathenia into the back of the net making it three for Mainz. Sejad Salihovic scored a goal in added time but it was too little too late for Hamburg who continue their slide down the standings.
Bayern Munich 3-0 Celtic (Champions League)
New coach Jupp Heynckes was looking for a return to winning ways in the Champions League as Bayern took on Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic in the Allianz Arena. The last game Heynckes played in the Champions League was back in 2013 when his Bayern team beat Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund in the final. Bayern were rampant from the opening whistle and took the lead on 17 minutes when Robert Lewandowski’s header was kept out by Craig Gordon only for Thomas Müller to pick up the rebound and score from close range.
It was 2-0 to the Bavarians 11 minutes later when Kingsley Coman’s whipped ball found Joshua Kimmich, whose long-range header found the top left corner. When Mats Hummels headed home Arjen Robben’s corner, it was game, set and match for Bayern Munich with the German side happy to be back on track in their Champions League campaign.
Hamburg will make multiple changes, Filip Kostić made his return from injury as a substitute and he will start in place of Tatsuya Ito. Kyriakos Papadopoulos also makes a return: he comes into defence to partner Mergim Mavraj with Gideon Jung making way.
Bayern Munich Lineup
Expect to see a similar-looking side to the one that took the points against Celtic with Corentin Tolisso coming in for Sebastian Rudy. Thomas Müller remains in the number 10 role, whilst James Rodriguez remains on the bench.
Key Battle: Thomas Müller and Aaron Hunt
Thomas Müller has been given a new lease of life in the Bayern set-up since Jupp Heynckes has returned and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see the German international returning to his old form under the new manager. It’s fair to say the relationship between Müller and former manager Carlo Ancelotti wasn’t ideal and, with Bayern bringing in James Rodriguez, the situation was made a lot worse. With Heynckes at the helm, James won’t get much of a look in as Heynckes will prefer Müller playing in the space behind Lewandowski. Müller scored in his last appearances against Celtic on Wednesday night so expect him to be raring to go against Hamburg.
Aaron Hunt has struggled this season and needs to create more for his teammates to justify his place. The attacking midfielder has made four appearances so far but he has only completed 82 passes: that’s 20.5 per game. Hunt has also only made 8 key passes which isn’t that impressive for a player of his calibre. In fact, he is 91st in the Bundesliga in that category. Hamburg need more from Hunt if they are to have a chance.
All too familiar
It feels like an all-too-familiar narrative for Hamburg as they enter their clash with Bayern Munich on a six game winless run. Hamburg are a team who consistently evades relegation, similar to Sunderland in the Premier League. However, last season Sunderland were finally relegated and it looks increasingly like Hamburg’s run of avoiding relegation is now under threat. If Hamburg don’t change something soon, we could see the clock run out for them.
Building a title challenge
After a disappointing start to the season, Jupp Heynckes will hope to bring the record champions back into the fray and give chase to Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table. Last time out, Bayern dominated Freiburg and, with a familiar face in the dugout, we can expect similar performances throughout the season. Wins against sides like Hamburg will help Bayern Munich make their candidacy for the Meisterschale.
Prediction: Hamburg 0-3 Bayern Munich
Hamburg enter the clash as overwhelming underdogs and it’s difficult to make a case for the hosts to secure anything from this encounter. Bayern are slowly regaining their mojo – a dangerous sign for anyone – and it feels like this could be another vintage display. Expect a high score from the Bavarians who will continue to put a beleaguered Dortmund under pressure.
Can Hamburg stop their six game winless run or will Bayern make it two on the bounce in the Bundesliga? Let us know in the comments section below
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?