Despite a rash of injuries and underwhelming home form, Hamburger SV are planning on delivering the shock of the season so far when champions FC Bayern München head north for Friday's Rückrunde curtain-raiser.
Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia admitted that everything would have to go his team's way if they are to beat Bayern on Friday.
"We will need a special performance," he said. "We hope that we've given the team a plan which is good enough to compete with Bayern."
The northern club finished the first half of the season in a solid tenth place, and can look back on a successful campaign so far, having largely avoided the relegation fight.
The omens are far from good ahead of the clash with Bayern, however. The champions thrashed HSV 5-0 in Munich on the opening day of the season. Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski, meanwhile, have more goals between them this term than the entire Hamburg team put together.
Hamburg's home form has also been suspect, with Labbadia's team notching up just two home victories so far this season.
"Johan overstretched his left knee a little in training yesterday," said Labbadia. "He is still not completely pain free, so we will have to see."
Pierre-Michel Lasogga is also a doubt for the Bayern game. When asked whether the striker would be fit to play, Labbadia replied: "I wouldn't bet on it."
Prior to the Matchday 18 encounter, Hamburg fans will have the opportunity to bid farewell to Marcelo Diaz, the hero of last year's relegation play-off, who left the club for Celta Vigo this month.
The focus, though, is very much on the future. "We want to get off to a good start in our first five or six games," said Labbadia, who played for both clubs during his career as a Bundesliga striker. "The fixture against Bayern is no exception."