FC Bayern München may have arrived on the Bundesliga scene two years after its inception but they, like founder members Hamburger SV, have never suffered the ignominy of relegation. While that is unlikely to happen at least in the near future, the same cannot quite be said for Hamburg, who despite winning back-to-back games for the first time since April 2013, are still in the throes of a relegation battle.
bundesliga.com has a closer look at this classic appointment on the German football calendar this Saturday...
Having notched their first win of 2015, Bayern have resumed normal service after a stumble into the new year. Their eight-point cushion at the top of the table may be comforting, but they have already dropped four in the last fortnight. Hamburg, on the other hand, need to add to their successive wins to keep the drop zone at a safe distance.
(r.) sits out the last of a two-game suspension but both and are in contention for a starting spot after returning to fitness this week.
With no fresh injuries to report, Josef Zinnbauer may bet tempted to keep faith with the same side that has won its last two games, even if (l.) has to fight for his place with Petr Jiracek, who impressed as his half-time replacement last weekend.
With such a plethora of attacking talent, it can be easy for Bayern's defenders to be overlooked. Medhi Benatia deserves special mention having become the bedrock of the Bayern defence since his arrival from AS Roma last summer. In Boateng's absence, his presence has become even more valuable to the team.
He may be the wrong side of 35, but by watching him cover 13.2 kilometres last week, you really would not know it. was strutting his stuff in a red shirt at the Allianz Arena over six years ago and now he returns to Bavaria to show there is life in the old man yet. Hamburg's return to form since his 'return home' is no coincidence.
Pep Guardiola (r.): "Hamburg are a very aggressive team and have a lot of pace. We'll need plenty of mental agility."
Josef Zinnbauer: "If you want to beat FC Bayern, then you've got to exceed yourself."
Bayern's post-winter break record is won one, drawn one and lost one, albeit in the reverse order. That may be some way below their standards, but the engine appears to be cranking back into gear. HSV are also improving, with back-to-back wins and only two defeats in their last seven.
This will be the 100th meeting between two sides that have largely defined the Bundesliga landscape since the league's inception back in 1963. Recent meetings may rarely have gone Hamburg's way - a 9-2 thrashing in March 2013 still sticks in the throat - but they have won twice at the Allianz Arena, more than any other side (together with Borussia Dortmund).
Bayern: Neuer - Benatia, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Xabi Alonso, Bernat - Robben, Müller, Götze - Lewandowski
Hamburg: Drobny - Westermann, Djourou, Rajkovic, Ostrzolek - van der Vaart, Diaz - Müller, Stieber, Jansen - Olic