- Hamburg finished tenth last season.
- Won only five of their 17 home games in 2015/16.
- Wood, Halilovic and Kostic three exciting new recruits.
Avoiding the travails of previous seasons may have appeased Hamburger SV fans last term, but following the arrival of several exciting prospects this summer, expectations have risen considerably at the port city club ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
Employing a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of last season, coach Bruno Labbadia seems likely to opt for a similar set up this time around. Finishing among the European places is a likely target, however, to achieve that the Red Shorts will need to significantly improve on their home form, having registered just five wins in 17 outings at the Volksparkstadion last time out.
Watch: Hamburg's 2016 Bundesliga Media Day:
A dearth of goals from forwards Sven Schipplock and Pierre-Michel Lasogga meant that midfielder Nicolai Müller finished 2015/16 as his team's top scorer, the 28-year-old contributing nine of an overall top-flight total of 40 goals.
The solution? HSV hope it has been found in Hawaii-born Bobby Wood, a striker with strength, turn of pace and solid finishing. The 23-year-old USMNT international netted 17 times in 31 Bundesliga 2 games for former side 1. FC Union Berlin last season, the highest total by an American in a single season in Germany.
Watch: Bobby Wood's top five goals:
New midfield recruits Alen Halilovic and Filip Kostic, signed from Barcelona and VfB Stuttgart respectively, should ease the burden on Müller, who apart from his goalscoring feats, also weighed in with five assists. Croatian playmaker Halilovic impressed while recently helping loan club Sporting Gijon to retain their Spanish top-flight status, the 20-year-old registering three goals and five assists. Serbian left-sided midfielder Kostic, meanwhile, will add speed out wide and should Michael Gregoritsch hit form, coach Labbadia will have some interesting decisions to make in midfield.
Further back, HSV's defence is not expected to feature major changes but the Bundesliga's only ever-present team will be temporarily without midfielder Lewis Holtby who recently broke his collarbone in a biking accident.
Ivica Olic, Ivo Illicevic, Gojko Kacar, Artjoms Rudnevs, Zoltan Stieber, Jaroslav Drobny and Philipp Müller have been cleared from the squad while goalkeeper Christian Mathenia will provide stern competition for Rene Adler after arriving from SV Darmstadt 98. A German international at youth level, striker Luca Waldschmidt – signed from Eintracht Frankfurt – is the kind of exciting prospect representative of his new team’s young and daring outlook for the coming campaign.