Cologne - It is not all that often that a visit to the Allianz Arena is regarded as a welcome excursion, but for improving Hamburger SV it's exactly that.
Back-to-back Bundesliga wins have scattered some of the storm clouds moving in following the port city club's 2-0 home defeat to 1. FC Köln at the start of 2015, and there is now a growing belief HSV can continue that run with an upset of epic proportions on Matchday 21.
This Saturday, they face FC Bayern München for the 100th time, but there are more than a few indications that the northerners could be celebrating a happy anniversary in Munich. For one, those wins over SC Paderborn and Hannover 96 have ensured two successive victories for the first time this season, and don't they say that all good things come in threes?
Bayern, on the other hand, have lost their domestic invincibility whilst having some limitations highlighted by FC Schalke 04 in Matchday 19's 1-1 draw. They did beat VfB Stuttgart last weekend, but not after once again being stripped bare of their seemingly superhuman traits. Yes, now could well be just the right time for HSV to pay Bayern a visit.
Happy hunting ground
Hamburg are one of only two clubs – Borussia Dortmund being the other – to have already triumphed inside temple Allianz Arena on more than one occasion. They have also come reeling after a 9-2 reverse, and that happened less than two years ago, but Hamburg no longer look so fragile, even if they remain just four points clear of the drop zone.
Since Josef Zinnbauer masterminded a goalless draw with Bayern on his HSV debut last September, the Red Shorts have faced all 16 other top-flight clubs, picking up 21 points despite having amassed only one from their opening three matches of the campaign. "It's certainly more enjoyable to look at the table after winning," said former Bayern forward Ivica Olic after victory over Hannover. "I'm particularly happy for the fans that we won today. We'll enjoy the victory, but then we'll need to start preparing ourselves for the game in Munich."
Ready to scrap
The Croatian embodies all the fighting qualities Hamburg need in their relegation fight, and he is not interested in HSV winning any beauty pageants. What matters is that the points are starting to arrive, and the much-travelled star hopes more could follow on Saturday. "I think we can cause an upset," Olic told German sports weekly Sport Bild. "But even a draw would be quite special."
That is not beyond them either, according to former Bayern defender Thomas Helmer. "Considering they have won two in a row, the pressure is considerably less," he told bundesliga.com. "Hamburg are the rank outsiders in Munich, but the fact that Bayern have not particularly convinced so far in the second half of the season could play into their hands." That, and many other reasons point towards Hamburg continuing their revival in Munich this Saturday.