Hanover - Northern derby combatants Hannover 96 and Hamburger SV bring the curtain down on Matchday 3 at the HDI Arena on Sunday (kick-off 15:30 GMT/ 17:30 CEST).

bundesliga.com has the pre-match lowdown on this weekend's rivalry-soaked finale...

With northern bragging rights up for grabs, it's safe to say this is a massive game for both clubs. Hannover have started the campaign brightly in Tayfun Korkut's first full season at the helm, but Hamburg - despite their summer recruitment drive - appear to be caught in the same old tailspin that almost cost them their place at Germany's top table in 2013/14.

The game comes too soon for Edgar Prib (pictured), who only started jogging again on Wednesday after picking up a groin injury in the Matchday 1 win over FC Schalke 04. Summer signing signing Stefan Thesker has also been ruled out and there's still no return in sight for captain Lars Stindl, defender Andre Hoffmann or goalkeeper Markus Müller.

Rafael van der Vaart returned to training earlier this week, only to suffer what looked to be a recurrence of the self-same calf injury that forced him to withdraw from the Netherlands squad for the recent UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Czech Republic. Marcell Jansen is definitely out, but new signings Zoltan Stieber, Cleber (pictured), Nicolai Müller, Julian Green and Lewis Holtby are all in line to start.

After losing Mame Diouf and Didier Ya Konan in the summer, Hannover looked to 24-year-old striker to fill the goal-scoring void. The Stuttgart native struggled to make the desired impact at 1899 Hoffenheim, but showed enough during a loan spell at Eintracht Frankfurt last season to suggest he has it in him to crack double figures this season given half a chance.

Loan acquisition Holtby has been charged with reversing the flagging fortunes of the self-styled Bundesliga dinosaurs. The 22-year-old found playing time at a premium in the Premier League with parent club Tottenham Hotspur FC, but certainly knows his way around Germany's top flight having netted ten goals in 55 Bundesliga appearances for former employers Schalke.

Tayfun Korkut: "Obviously I don't know what team Mirko Slomka will put out, but we will be well prepared on Sunday. HSV want to win - but so do we."

Johan Djourou: "The new signings are good for us, we need them. So far, I'm impressed. We now have the quality and mental strength to win in Hanover."

Hannover's away form has been notoriously suspect in the past, so Korkut will have been doubly delighted to see his much-improved ensemble follow up their Matchday 1 win over Schalke with a point at 1. FSV Mainz 05 last time out. Second-bottom Hamburg are still to win or score in the league this season, meanwhile, drawing 0-0 at 1. FC Köln and losing 3-0 at home to Bundesliga first-timers SC Paderborn 07.

The HDI Arena has become something of a bogey ground for HSV, who haven't won in six visits to Hanover. The Reds ran out 2-1 winners in last season's corresponding fixture, with Hamburg's last northern derby win away from the Imtech Arena coming in August 2007.

Possible line-ups:

Hannover: Zieler – H. Sakai, Marcelo, C. Schulz, Pander – Schmiedebach, Andreasen – Bittencourt, Kiyotake, Albornoz - Joselu

Hamburg: Drobny – Diekmeier, Djourou, Cleber, Ostrzolek – Behrami, Holtby – Ilicevic, N. Müller, Stieber - Lasogga

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