Hamburger SV slipped to the bottom half of the standings despite bringing one point from Freiburg, with the Red Shorts now hoping to return to where they belong with three points against Mainz. Die Nullfunfer climbed to seventh as they beat Nurnbuerg at home and will now attempt to bring at least one point from Imtech Arena.
Hamburg need to improve at home
Despite investing considerable amount of cash into the playing squad season after season, Hamburger SV have largely struggled to fulfill their ambitions over the last few years. Club chiefs then decided enough was enough and splashed the cash on some high-quality players, such as Rafael van der Vaart, Rene Adler, Petr Jiracek and Artoms Rudnevs, to name just a few. As the new players were slowly integrated into the squad, the Red Shorts lost their first three Bundesliga games, but have shown a massive improvement since. Hamburger proved their worth by bringing no less than eight points from last four away games, but their home form have been a bit patchy of late. Following impressive victories over Hannover and Borussia Dortmund, HSV were beaten by both Stuttgart and Bayern Munich at Imtech Arena, but this will feel like a perfect opportunity to rediscover their home form. Solid showing in the goalless draw against Freiburg should keep the players in good stead for the Mainz game.
Michael Mancienne might have to settle for a place on the bench despite recovering from flu, while Ivo Ilicevic, Slobodan Rajkovic and Petr Jiracek are all out injured.
Mainz looking good
Following several very successful campaigns, Mainz experienced a great deal of problems last season and they almost ended up getting relegated. Given they entered the new season with virtually the same squad, die Nullfunfer were expected to slip into another difficult relegation tussle, but Thomas Tuchel’s men have been exceeding all expectations this season. Four wins in five home games helped the team climb to the top half of the standings, while everybody at the club is probably happy with the 1-2-3 record on the travels. However, when facing teams of HSV’s standard, Mainz have picked up just one point from four away games, so that should give us a clear picture of what to expect from this match. The absence of important midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger only adds to the worries.
The Austria international misses out through suspension, while Eric Choupo-Moting and Niko Bungert are out injured.
Hamburger may not have been too impressive at home of late, but the quality of the team and impressive showings on the travels hint they will come good any time now. Mainz are clearly punching above their weight and having struggled on the road this season, they are likely to be grounded in Hamburg.
Top pick: Hamburg Draw no bet 1.80 (4/5) @ Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Home win 2.50 (3/2) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.91 (10/11) @ Coral