Both sides are at different ends of the table and thus need the points for very different reasons, but they have both shown in recent weeks how perfectly capable they are of living up to their respective expectations. bundesliga.com puts this clash Volkswagen Arena under the microscope...
With seven wins in a row in all competition, Dieter Hecking's (pictured) Wolves are howling like in their last title-winning season. An eighth straight victory would keep up the pressure on league leaders Bayern going into the international break. Hamburg, meanwhile, want to continue their recent rise by pulling away from the drop zone.
has been ruled out for three weeks after damaging his thigh in the UEFA Europa League win over Krasnodar. He joins (buttock) on the sidelines with set to deputize at left back. "Timm did a good job [on Thursday], but I have alternatives in the back of my mind," said Hecking, who may also be missing Sebastian Jung.
continues to labour with a thigh problem, but in view of the impending international break, he may play on through this last 90 minutes before a two-week hiatus. seems to have recovered from a calf problem, meaning coach Josef Zinnbauer could name an unchanged team from last week.
has added an extra string to Wolfsburg's bow this season and his first two goals for the club in the Europa League have boosted his chances of a start. He has also boosted Bas Dost and Ivica Olic, galvanising the competition for places and giving the Wolves two - or even three - potentially prolific strikers for the first time since Edin Dzeko and Grafite fired them to the 2009 title.
(pictured, l.) has been as important to Hamburg's recent upturn as headline-grabbers Rafael van der Vaart and . The Swiss defender has helped stabilize HSV's leaky back line and won 82 per cent of his tackles against Bayer 04 Leverkusen last weekend: "I'm in top form," he told HSV total!
Hecking (r.): We deserve to be playing in front of a full stadium after our recent performances. It's going to be a great atmosphere.
We have to play every game with the aggression we showed against Leverkusen.
Wolfsburg's seven wins in a row have taken them to within four points of the top spot, as well as seeing them through to the last 16 of the DFB Cup and the brink of the last 32 in the Europa League. HSV's form has improved of late with seven points from their last four league games - they only managed two in their previous six.
Wolfsburg's last defeat in this fixture came back in 2010, since when they have won two and drawn four. Overall, the Wolves hold the upper hand with 12 wins to Hamburg's nine, and 13 draws. Last season, Wolfsburg won 3-1 away having been held 1-1 at home.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Klose - Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo - De Bruyne, Arnold, Perisic - Olic
Hamburg: Drobny - Diekmeier, Djourou, Westermann, Ostrzolek - Behrami - Müller, van der Vaart, Holtby, Jansen - Lasogga
See Kevin De Bruyne firing on all cylinders for Wolfsburg last week, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: