- Hamburg could overtake northern rivals Wolfsburg with a win.
- Both sides need points to banish any lingering relegation fears.
- Regional pride is very much at stake.
Both Hamburger SV and VfL Wolfsburg may appear settled in mid-table security, but are still looking for points to allay any fears of being sucked into a last-minute relegation scrap when they meet at the Volksparkstadion on Saturday (kick-off 15.30 CEST/13.30 GMT).
With European qualification now out of reach, last season's runners-up and DFB Cup winners Wolfsburg have failed to fulfill expectations this term. A barn-storming run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League will remain long in the memory, but domestic form has been largely disappointing. A 5-1 thrashing at Dortmund last week means the Wolves now have the worst away record in the league and are still not mathematically certain of survival.
It would however require a freak set of results for both Wolfsburg and their hosts on Saturday Hamburg to be sucked into the relegation battle on the final weekend. After beating another northern rival SV Werder Bremen recently, Bruno Labbadia's side are seeking to ensure survival with a second consecutive home victory for the first time this season.
Matchday 16 rewind: Wolfsburg 1-1 Hamburg
Matchday 33 - match stats
- Of all their Bundesliga contemporaries, Wolfsburg are enjoying their longest unbeaten run against Hamburg (nine matches).
- That said, HSV would leapfrog Wolfsburg with a win here. The Red Shorts have not been higher than the Wolves in the standings since the close of play on Matchday 1 of last season.
- Wolfsburg have lost three Bundesliga matches in a row for the first time under Dieter Hecking.
- Only relegated Hannover 96 have picked up fewer points than Wolfsburg over the course of the Rückrunde (13).
- Hamburg have not beaten Wolfsburg at home in nine years (April 2007) and have lost their last eight on their own patch against the Wolves.
- Hamburg last finished the season as the highest-placed north German team in 2012/13.
- Wolfsburg have accrued a league-low ten points on their travels in 2015/16 – their lowest away return since 2003/04.
- After beating SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 30, Hamburg could make it two successive home wins for the first time this season with victory over Wolfsburg.
- Wolfsburg striker Max Kruse, who was born on the outskirts of Hamburg, has never lost a game against HSV (five wins, four draws).
Hamburg: Drobny - Sakai, Spahic, Djourou, Ostrzolek - Holtby, Kacar - Gregoritsch, Hunt, Ilicevic - Lasogga
Absentees: Drmic (knee), Ekdal (thigh), Müller (thigh), Adler (bruising), , Jung (back)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Vieirinha, Naldo, Dante, Schäfer - Gustavo, Guilavogui - Caligiuri, Arnold, Schürrle - Dost
Absentees: Jung (knee), Ascues (calf), Draxler (light training), Henrique (shin), Rodriguez (back)
Coach: Dieter Hecking