Hamburger SV's Rafael van der Vaart (l.) has only lost to Borussia Dortmund and Nuri Sahin (r.) once in six matches
Hamburger SV's Rafael van der Vaart (l.) has only lost to Borussia Dortmund and Nuri Sahin (r.) once in six matches

Dortmund host clash of the titans as Hamburg come calling

Dortmund - Two leviathans of the German game, Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV, square up on Saturday evening in front of a sold out Signal Iduna Park, and a fanatical Yellow Wall. (18.30 CEST)

Dortmund aiming to show maturity

Both are avid to resume Bundesliga proceedings after a fortnight break for internationals. For Dortmund this fixture marks the start of an intense period involving seven games in 22 days, and for Hamburg it marks an opportunity to reassert the promise they showed in comfortably dispatching Eintracht Braunschweig.

In Jürgen Klopp's pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon, he made it clear however, that his side "are not Braunschweig," adding: "Braunschweig are struggling. We're not." That is certainly true: the Yellow-Blacks have won all four games this season in impressive style, and they have the chance to become one of only twelve Bundesliga sides in history to make it five from five at the start of a season.

One ingredient required to maintain a strong Bundesliga charge is an ability to find the right balance, and the 46-year-old brushed off queries about his side struggling to find an equilibrium between Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup fixtures. "We've come a long way since last year," he said. "We balance our commitments well now, but it's important to rebuild the momentum we had before the international break, which has slightly broken our rhythm."

International injury

Another potential disruption to that rhythm is an injury to Jakub Blaszczykowski, picked up while on international duty against San Marino. "It will be tight, we'll wait and see," said Klopp. Were 'Kuba' to miss out, a contender to replace him would be Jonas Hofmann, who has just signed a contract extension until 2018. On a more positive note, Klopp is boosted by the availability of the "very good" Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nuri Sahin and Robert Lewandowski.

Looking beyond his own clan, Klopp said Hamburg's Rafael van der Vaart has made a "very good start", although he may not in fact need to find a remedy for his threat: the Dutchman and Marcell Jansen are both fighting to be fit. If the Hamburg captain does miss out, Hakan Calhanoglu will step into the breach, something which will undoubtedly not faze the youngster. Artjoms Rudnevs and Milan Badelj have both been ruled out of for a fixture which Hamburg won 4-1 last season, meanwhile.

Dortmund-shaped yardstick required

Fink admitted that last year's result "was in the back of our minds" but that this year, his side face "a huge challenge." He added: "We'll have to bite, fight and claw our way to three points. I'm looking forward to the game, it's always a fantastic atmosphere, and we want to be the first team to take points off Dortmund this season."

Doing that would certainly be a statement of intent from a Hamburg side becoming increasingly self-assured, and if that man van der Vaart is fit, then they can certainly harbour hope of history repeating itself - he's talismanic in games against Dortmund, having only ever lost to them once. Fink also pointed out that "Braunschweig isn't the yardstick by which we're measuring our season." For a hopeful Hamburg, it's games like these by which they should measure their campaign.

Possible line-ups:

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Bender, Sahin - Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski

Hamburger SV: Adler - Diekmeier, Djourou, Westermann, Lam - Rincon - Arslan, Jiracek - van der Vaart - Zoua, Beister