At the end of last season, a message bellowed from the Imtech Arena speakers after Hamburg won at home to Wolfsburg, they were staying up yet again. The Bundesliga’s only ever-present side was going to preserve its presence for at least one more campaign.
Such has been the story of Hamburg in the past few seasons, a side that has played at Arsenal and Juventus among other places and previously won the European Cup, now content on seemingly surviving season-by-season, every campaign is simply a fight to stay afloat. They have been fighting this season as well, but they’re nowhere near staying afloat as of yet.
Markus Gisdol has already been dismissed amidst another torrid campaign. New manager Bernd Hollerbach clocks just a month at the job when they travel to Werder Bremen this weekend and he is yet to celebrate victory, in fact, Hamburg have not won since the end of November, a run of 10 games that sees them only off the foot of the table due to Koln’s bad start and inadequacies.
They haven’t won away since the opening month of the campaign (at Koln), and with Bremen two places and six points above them, Die Rothosen know they can ill-afford to see the gap increase. They can take solace in the fact that they’ve managed to pull off escapes in the past, and that Bremen are a side riddled with inconsistency, but they need points on board sooner rather than later.
Hamburg mark their 100th anniversary next year (they became Hamburg in 1919, after previously being SC Germania). Lose at the Weserstadion, and the unthinkable might just happen with them in Division Two. No one is bellowing survival messages just yet.
Elsewhere, Koln are also running out of time to make any improbable survival bid, and they travel to Leipzig, who dropped out of the top four after Monday night’s loss at Frankfurt. As for Frankfurt, it’s a trip to high flying Tayfun Korkut managed Stuttgart, who are pulling clear of relegation.
Mainz and Wolfsburg lock horns as both sides aim to look over their shoulder a little less, Bayern Munich play host to 11th-placed Hertha Berlin in the derby, while Hoffenheim aim for the top seven as they welcome Freiburg, and it’s fourth placed Leverkusen at home to sixth-placed Schalke, in a ‘chase for the Champions League’ encounter.
Bundesliga round 24 Fixtures:
Werder Bremen v Hamburg
Hoffenheim v Freiburg
Bayern Munich v Hertha BSC
Mainz v Wolfsburg
Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke
Borussia Dortmund v Augsburg
Hannover v Borussia Monchengladbach
Stuttgart v Eintracht Frankfurt
RB Leipzig v Koln