The Foals have so far been unable to match their top-four exploits of last season and had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for preventing a Matchday 4 defeat at Rhine neighbours Leverkusen on Sunday.
The loss of centre-back Dante to Bayern Munich and forward Marco Reus to Borussia Dortmund over the summer is taking its toll, with Gladbach already conceding and scoring five in their four Bundesliga games to date. Dutch striker Luuk de Jong has come in, but has found the net just once this term.
As if to illustrate the point, the Foals had no luck away from the Bundesliga against Cypriot minnows AEL Limassol in the Europa League last Thursday either and now find themselves without a win since Matchday 1's 2-1 success over lowly 1899 Hoffenheim.
Vaart and Son
Hamburg's struggles are a little more striking, but Thorsten Fink will be hoping his side's storming 3-2 win against champions Borussia Dortmund provides the necessary lift to push them up the table. The return of Rafael van der Vaart looks to have raised spirits but, as he admitted following his move from Tottenham Hotspur, he is "no miracle worker".
Taking the pressure off the Dutch midfielder has been one of the Bundesliga's standout performers so far this term, Heung Min Son. The South Korean forward took his tally to three in four outings with a brace against Dortmund, yet it was his combination play with van der Vaart which was particularly impressive and something which will again be key to any Red Short success at the Borussia Park.
Rare clean sheet
Mike Hanke put the Foals in front when the two sides last met in the Rhineland, only to see Tolgay Arslan rifle home the equaliser to ensure the honours remained even. Hanke's substitute performance against Leverkusen on Sunday should have given coach Lucien Favre plenty of food for thought, though, as he looks to rekindle the Foals' goalscoring flame.
Goals aren't such a problem for Hamburg, with six coming in their last two outings, but a mighty 23 Bundesliga fixtures have passed since they last managed a clean sheet, that rare result coming on Matchday 15 of the 2011/12 campaign against 1. FC Nuremberg.
ter Stegen - Jantschke, Stranzl, Alvaro Dominguez, Daems - Nordtveit, G. Xhaka - Herrmann, Arango - Cigerci - L. de Jong
Hamburg: Adler - Diekmeier, Mancienne, Westermann, Jansen - Badelj, Arslan - Son, van der Vaart, Ilicevic - Rudnevs