Hamburger SV v Borussia Dortmund Preview: A David against Goliath contest?

Hamburger SV v Borussia Dortmund Preview: A David against Goliath contest?

Markus Gisdol's rock-bottom Hamburg will host Thomas Tuchel's wavering Borussia Dortmund in what could be a game involving David and Goliath.

Kaustubh Pandey

The task of overcoming a stiff opposition in the form of Borussia Dortmund could prove to be too much for Hamburg, when they will take on with Thomas Tuchel's side at the Volksparkstadion on Saturday.

One of the two winless sides in the division, Hamburg last managed to get a point off a game back in October, when they had succeeded in holding Andre Schubert's Borussia Mönchengladbach to a 0-0 draw at Borussia Park.

When it comes to Borussia Dortmund, it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for them ever since the month of October started. Failure to win a single game after their 3-1 triumph over newly promoted Freiburg back in late September, have made sure that BVB have slipped to sixth in the Bundesliga table.

It was around this time last season that Hamburg had notched up an impressive 3-1 win over Dortmund as goals from Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Lewis Holtby and an own goal from Mats Hummels had rewarded a clinical performance by Bruno Labbadia's men.

Problems, problems and more problems for Gisdol

After the goalless draw at Gladbach, Hamburg have been at the end of two 3-0 defeats, as both Eintracht Frankfurt and unbeaten Koln ran rings around them. The clash against Frankfurt, that saw Dennis Diekmeier see red, could've witnessed an even worser winning margin as Niko Kovac's men had failed  to put away a host of chances in the second half.

Currently rock-bottom in the table, Hamburg have conceded the third most amount of goals this season, letting in 18 goals. Only Werder Bremen and the second side to have not won a game this season- Ingolstadt, have conceded more.

And Der Dino's problems aren't just restricted to the defense, but their attacking issues are certainly more concerning. Mark Gisdol's men have scored only two times this season and new signing Bobby Wood is the only one to have scored both of them. The American, who was acquired from Union Berlin this past summer, scored during the 1-1 draw against Ingolstadt and during the defeat to Leverkusen.

The lack of decisiveness around the box has regularly been laid bare by the opposition and the absence of a tactical identity has contributed massively to their failures. The likes of Filip Kostic, Nicolai Muller and Alen Halilovic have looked frustrated and sometimes out of ideas in the box, leading to a low output. Die Rothosen have looked a bit more convincing with Pierre Michel Lasogga and Wood up front, but the former has played up front predominantly.

Dortmund look to get back on track

A close Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon, that saw Adrian Ramos score and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang get dropped to the stands, would certainly act as a propeller for BVB to get back on track. Their performance in the Ruhr Valley derby against Schalke was disappointing as Markus Weinzerl's men continuously dominated the midfield.

The defense has been a major concern for Dortmund during this barren run as they've conceded six goals in the past four Bundesliga outings, with three of them coming during their 3-3 draw against Ingolstadt at Audi Sportpark. A lot of blame is being thumped on Tuchel, whose acquisition of a whole host of youngsters in the summer is supposedly costing him and the team.

The likes of Ousmane Dembele, Emre Mor, Christian Pulisic and Felix Passlack have chipped in with decent performances here and there, but some of their showings have made them vulnerable to criticism. While the deployment of another new signing-Raphael Guerreiro in the central midfield has worked out quite well, but the inability to find a perfect first-team has been a problem too.

Wood's suspension a worry for Hamburg

Although, Hamburg don't have any immediate injury concerns to attend to, unlike Dortmund, but the suspension of Bobby Wood is a massive problem for them. Their only goalscorer of the season so far, Wood was handed a three-match ban after he had elbowed Koln defender Dominique Heintz last week.

For Dortmund though, the absences of Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer is concerning, with reports suggestive of the fact that the former is likely to be fit for Dortmund's upcoming clash against arch-rivals Bayern Munich.

Apart from the long-term absences of Erik Durm and Neven Subotic, young Emre Mor is still serving his yellow card suspension and will not return before the 13th of November. Aubameyang will return to action after missing the trip to Lisbon in the Champions League, after he had apparently disappeared off to watch a fashion show in Milan.

A David against Goliath game?

The situations of Sunderland in the Premier League and that Hamburg in the Bundesliga are synonymous with one word-hopeless. And with Aubameyang set to feature, Hamburg will come up against the unenviable task of denying a player who wants to prove his worth to Thomas Tuchel once again.

A lot was being said about why Dortmund would cruise to a win over Ingolstadt, but nothing of that transpired. Although, that does suggest the amount of unpredictability that lingers in the game, but its unlikely that Hamburg come up with a similar performance on Saturday.

They seem to look out of ideas and out of depth and sometimes, Gisdol seems to look as if he has resigned to getting relegated this season. The constant switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 hasn't worked out too well, apart from Wood using Lasogga's lay offs to decent effect. But the American's absence would hurt Hamburg a lot and a replication of the heroics of the previous campaign looks largely unlikely.

Predicted Line-ups

Hamburger SV: (4-2-3-1) Adler; Sakai, Djourou, Spahic, Santos; Jung, Holtby; Muüler, Hunt, Kostic; Lasogga

Borussia Dortmund: (4-1-4-1) Bürki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Ginter, Passlack; Weigl; Pulisic, Castro, Kagawa, Schürrle; Aubameyang.