Bundesliga Preview: Hamburg, Bremen set for Nordderby
By Football News
Hamburg will move out of the Bundesliga's relegation positions with a win against northern rivals Werder Bremen on Saturday.
A run of five straight defeats in all competitions after the German winter break came to an end last week for Hamburg, as they stunned Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in Mirko Slomka's first match as head coach.
The win took Hamburg to 19 points for the season and into 16th position - the relegation play-off spot.
But if Slomka can lead his new team to a second consecutive win at Bremen's Weserstadion on Saturday in the Nordderby, Hamburg could move as high as 13th by the end of the weekend.
Hamburg are the only club to have played in every season of the Bundesliga.
Slomka took over from Dutchman Bert van Marwijk on February 16 to become Hamburg's fourth head coach this season, including caretaker Rodolfo Esteban Cardoso, who led the team for a week in September following Thorsten Fink's sacking.
Hamburg battled hard against Dortmund last week with striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga leading the way, setting up his team's first goal and converting the second.
The 22-year-old German forward's cross was headed home by Petr Jiracek just before half-time before Lasogga doubled Hamburg's lead in the 58th minute, while Hakan Calhanoglu clinched the win in second-half stoppage time with an improbable long-range free-kick.
If Hamburg overcome their northern rivals, they will leapfrog Bremen (22 points) in the table due to superior goal difference, while Slomka's side could also move above Stuttgart (19) or Eintracht Frankfurt (22).
Stuttgart have lost six straight matches in the German league and travel to Frankfurt on Sunday to play Frankfurt, who drew 0-0 with Bremen last week.
Leaders Bayern Munich will be aiming for a 15th consecutive win on Saturday when they host fourth-placed Schalke, who will be coming off a UEFA Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
Third-placed Dortmund bounced back from their loss to Hamburg with a 4-2 win at Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday and will face Nuremberg next.
Hertha Berlin will begin the weekend's action against 17th-placed Freiburg, who are a point behind Hamburg, while bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig (15 points) host Borussia Monchengladbach.
In other fixtures, Bayer Leverkusen will host Mainz, Hannover will travel to Augsburg and Hoffenheim take on Wolfsburg.