SpVgg Greuther Fürth - Hamburger SV
Saturday will witness a Bundesliga first as the top-flight rookies host the league's only ever-present side. Greuther Fürth are desperate to finally collect their first points on home turf, but a goal alone would also come as a welcome relief to their fans, who have yet to see their side score at the Trolli Arena this term.
If they fire blanks again this weekend, the Clover Leaves would be the first newly-promoted side to fail to score in their first four home matches. "We have a chance to prove ourselves in this match," said head coach Mike Büskens. "We can't worry about making mistakes, but should instead focus on the chance to enjoy a positive outcome." Whether will return to the squad after tearing ankle ligaments is still unclear.
Call to arms
Their rejuvenated opponents have taken seven points from their last three matches to propel themselves into mid-table, but despite being happy with recent results, HSV boss Thorsten Fink warned against premature celebrations. "Everything has run smoothly in the last few matches. Now we also have to produce the passion, fire, enthusiasm and teamwork against Fürth on the day," said Fink, who will be without Ivo Ilicevic (muscle tear) for the trip to Franconia, while captain Heiko Westermann (muscle strain) and (flu) should recover in time to retain their places.
Another possible starter is . "We need a fighter," stated Fink, eluding to the midfielder's possible return. "We need players like that especially against Fürth, who will most likely try battle their way into the match."
SC Freiburg - 1. FC Nuremberg
Freiburg's charismatic coach Christian Streich is hoping his side will turn the corner on Saturday after a series of results he claims have not done his side any justice. "When you see the desire the players have in training, then there is no reason not to be happy with them," he said. Johannes Flum will not feature, though, as he broke his hand on Friday, while Karim Guede is suspended and long-term absentee Jan Rosenthal is still injured.
Ups and downs
Meanwhile, Nuremberg coach Dieter Hecking knows it will be a rollercoaster season for his side, which is why the ebbs and the flows are not concerning him too much. The tactician did not get carried away when his side were one win away from moving top, and three defeats later, he is not panicking either. "The season is a long one and there will always be ups and downs - we have experienced both already," he said. ""There is no point grumbling or seeking excuses - we just have to work hard."
That applies to all of Hecking's players. "Anybody who does not toe the line risks losing their place in the team," he added. Were anybody to need any proof of that, the removal of Marcos Antonio just 16 minutes in to the defeat to Stuttgart last weekend provides it. "Other teams rotate their players, so we can too," added Hecking, who says he has not lost faith in the Brazilian, despite his errors.
1. FSV Mainz 05 - Fortuna Düsseldorf
Andriy Voronin's place in unbeaten Fortuna Düsseldorf's attack has been the subject of much discussion since he was left out of the side which defeated Fürth ten days ago.
However, he returned against Schalke 04 last weekend and is expected to lead the club's assault on yet more Bundesliga points in Mainz. His coach Norbert Meier explained why the Ukraine international had been left out, and does not fear it will have repercussions. "Andriy has been around long enough to know it was nothing personal," he said. "He was unable to take part in the whole of pre-season and had to train with Dynamo Moskva's reserves for three weeks, and on an artificial pitch. It is normal that now and again he is not so fresh."
There has been no criticism of the sprightliness in Mainz's side, meanwhile. Their 3-0 defeat to Schalke 04 was actually hailed as one of their best games of the season, despite the result. Building on that performance, their coach Thomas Tuchel said: "I think we can beat them. We certainly have the will to win it," he added. Spirits are higher in Mainz after a 2-0 victory at VfL Wolfsburg, thanks in part to a goal from Adam Szalai. The talented Hungarian striker, who used to be on the books at Real Madrid, has accounted for half of Mainz's six goals this season.