Hamburger SV host 1. FSV Mainz 05 on the 15th matchday at the Volksparkstadion. Both teams are in good form and are keen to get some more points on the board before the Winter Break. Only a few points separate these teams and the places for European qualification. It would be a real success for both to finish the Hinrunde in the top six.
Hamburg's home weakness
Hamburger SV are in surprising form. The last season's almost-relegated team stand o seventh position after 14 matches with six wins, five losses and three draws. Despite the good position, Hamburg can definitely not be that happy with what the table says. Conceding 18 goals does not make for pleasant reading, but what's the actual strength of Bruno Labbadia's team?
It is easy; the players enjoy playing football. It's not long ago that the team faced Karslruher SC in the relegation play-off and only thanks to a fantastic free-kick by Marcelo Diaz. Hamburg got more time to save themselves and Nicolai Müller scored the all-important goal for the Bundesliga Dino.
Labbadia has created something with the players. Lewis Holtby is in top form and counts as one of the best players in HSV's current squad. The coach gave the players the confidence back and the players thank him with good performances on the pitch.
It's not the playing strength of the players which has made them so good at the moment, it's more the effort and passion for playing football which propelled HSV into such a promising position.
Coach Bruno Labbadia said in his press conference, before the meeting against Mainz 05, exactly what both teams think: "We expect a match on eye level."
Mainz's unbeaten run
Also, Mainz 05 are on a good run. The team is unbeaten in four matches and definitely want to extend this run in upcoming match against Hamburger SV. The current ninth-placed side have the fifth best attack in the league and players like Yoshinori Muto and Yunus Malli are indispensable and very important for the team. Both these players scored the goals during the 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt last matchday.
One problem Mainz still have; they are not constant enough. Six wins, six losses and two draws show that the team is still struggling to stay in good form, so they need to prove that they have the potential to stay in the top half of the Bundesliga and extend their current unbeaten run to five matches.
Since the 1-3 loss against Werder Bremen at home, Mainz won twice against Wolfsburg and Frankfurt and drew twice against Augsburg and Cologne.
Hamburg have to fight against a home weakness and the strength Mainz, who are unbeaten in four games. The hosts will definitely want to put in another good performance to prove everyone that the Dino is still alive and kicking.