Hamburg and Wolfsburg both need the points for very different reasons on Matchday 31
Hamburg and Wolfsburg both need the points for very different reasons on Matchday 31

Three points a must for Hamburg and Wolfsburg

Hamburg - Three points are all that matter for Hamburger SV and VfL Wolfsburg when the two sides meet at the Imtech Arena on Saturday evening (kick-off 16:30 GMT/18:30 CET).

'Very dangerous'

Time is fast running out for the 16th-placed Rothosen in the ever-changing battle to beat the drop, whilst at the other end of the spectrum Dieter Hecking's Wolves can scarcely afford to drop points in the neck-and-neck race to secure European football for next season.

"I think HSV will battle for every inch of the pitch so we must take them on and impose ourselves," said 19-year-old Wolfsburg midfielder Maximilian Arnold. "Hamburg are very dangerous, so we must keep our focus for the full 90 minutes in order to come away with all three points."

Wolfsburg were in the DFB Cup final by Borussia Dortmund in midweek, but appear to be hitting their straps at just the right time in the league, stringing together a run of three wins from their last four Bundesliga outings. Should they pick up maximum points from their remaining four games, the Wolves will be guaranteed a place in the UEFA Europa League as a minimum.

'We can achieve a lot'

"We just want to end the season, which has already gone well for us, on a positive note," Arnold continued. "I believe that if we can carry on the way we've been going his season, we can achieve a lot. We already have a good team and everyone is keen to take the next step [...] We'll see where we end up at the end of the season."

Staring into the abyss at the other end of the scale, meanwhile, are Hamburg. Mirko Slomka's relegation play-off place lodgers have it all to do between now and the season's end, currently sat only one and two points better off than 1. FC Nürnberg and rock-bottom Eintracht Braunschweig respectively, and a further point from outright safety.

'Four finals'

"We've got four finals ahead of us and we're not going to stop looking for chances to pull clear," Slomka explained when asked what it will take to preserve HSV's status as the Bundesliga's only ever-present club in its 51-year history. "We've got to move forward together."

Hamburg are unbeaten in their last five on home soil and Slomka is optimistic his side's potentially season-defining run can continue on Matchday 31. "Wolfsburg vary their attacking play and are difficult to read, but they have their weaknesses," he continued. "They've conceded more goals than any other team during the second half of the season. We have to be quick when turning defence into attack."

Possible line-ups:

Hamburg: Adler - Diekmeier, Djourou, Mancienne, Westermann - Jiracek, Tesche, Arslan, Ilicevic - Calhanoglu - Zoua

Wolfsburg: Grün - Träsch, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Luiz Gustavo, Arnold - Perisic, de Bruyne, Caligiuri - Olic

Click here to find your local broadcaster for this match.

Check out this corker of an opening goal from Hamburg's trip to Wolfsburg earlier in the season on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: