Most teams only have to make one trip to an opponent's ground during the season. Bayern Munich tend to make multiple trips to some arenas due to the amount of competitions they are involved in, but this is an odd anomaly.
Bayern will be making their fourth trip to the melancholy confines of Imtech Arena (fifth if you count the Telekom Cup in the preseason). They have imprinted on Hamburg SV 's narrative, helping write the Shakespearean tragedy that has unfolded in the north. Now comes the final act, the second round of Germany's oldest tournament.
The DFB-Pokal is arguably the least important competition for both teams, but two very different reasons. An 18th title for Bayern would be a footnote to either a Bundesliga or Champions League victory, while Hamburg have their gaze locked on the 15th position in the table. Considering the history of and between these two clubs, both will nonetheless be giving their all to advance to the Achtelfinale in December.
The Match (110th Meeting)
Location: Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany
Head: Marco Fritz
FC Bayern: 4 W, 1 D, 2 L – 13 YC
Assistants: Arno Blos, Dominick Schaal
Fourth Official: Franck Willenborg
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Hamburger SV (0-0) Bayern Munich | September 20, 2014
Bundesliga: 58 W, 22 D, 19 L
DFB Pokal: 6 W, 1 D, 2 L
DFL Supercup: 1 W, 0 D, 0 L
Ligapokal: 0 W, 0 D, 1 L
Largest Victory: 9-2 (Bundesliga: March 30, 2013, Munich)
Largest Defeat: 0-5 (Bundesliga: April 1, 1977, Hamburg)
On the last trip to Hamburg, Pep Guardiola decided to seize the post-Champions-League opportunities to play some of the squad players. The combination could not muster a goal, and eventually the gaffer had to bring on his key players to try and chase the game. That will not happen again.
In awe of the single-match elimination nature of the DFB-Pokal, he will not save his punches. He will conjure a potion that will produce the results that he wants, not try to coast his way into the Round of 16.
That said, this is the perfect opportunity to reintegrate the Robbery concept back into his side. Franck Ribéry has come off the bench in Bayern's last three matches, and Arjen Robben returned to training Monday after missing the match Sunday with muscle problems. The two have not started together since Bayern were knocked out of the Champions League last season, and it will undoubtedly be a glorious reunion after a six-month layoff.
As much as Sebastian Rode and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg will want to feature, the fact remains that David Alaba and Philipp Lahm link the play much better than they do. Juan Bernat and Rafinha will stretch the field like they did against Gladbach, allowing Ribéry and Robben to cut inside at will. Like many matches this season, the formation Guardiola deploys could easily not be the one that Bayern ends the match with.
Bayern have scored 24 goals in seven matches since the 0-0 draw in Hamburg, so the likelihood that they are kept off the team sheet again is microscopic.
Projected Lineup (4-3-3):
Franck Ribéry – Robert Lewandowski – Arjen Robben
David Alaba – Xabi Alonso – Philipp Lahm
Juan Bernat – Dante – Jérôme Boateng – Rafinha
Bench: Leopold Zingerle, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Sebastian Rode, Mario Götze, Thomas Müller, Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro
If Hamburg have done one thing better since Josef Zinnbauer took over as manager, it is that Hamburg are keeping the ball out of the back of the net. The two major things that have stayed the same is their scoring (or lack there of) and their place in the table.
Zinnbauer wanted to install a ball-controlled, ball-winning team, something that he has largely done in recent matches. Passing in the final third and finishing chances still remain unresolved, Hamburg scoring just three goals under Zinnbauer's tenure thus far. That said, it has improved enough to allow Pierre-Michel Lasogga to start getting his season going, the relegation hero scoring two goals in his last three matches.
Zinnbauer has deployed more defensive options than his predecessor, including putting Marcel Jansen in attack and Tolgay Arslan in midfield. He has had to replace the fiery Dennis Diekmeier with Ashton-Philip Götz, and Änis Ben-Hatira exposed the youngster for two goals. Desparate for a playmaker, the former reserves manager will likely choose Lewis Holtby over the deteriorating Rafael van der Vaart.
Unless Hamburg somehow find acres of open space to run into, they will have trouble scoring again, which does not bode for their chances in a single-elimination match.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Marcel Jansen – Lewis Holtby – Nicolai Müller
Tolgay Arslan – Valon Behrami
Matthias Ostrzolek – Heiko Westermann – Johan Djourou – Ashton-Philip Götz
Bench: Alexander Brunst-Zöllner, Petr Jiraček, Gojko Kačar, Julian Green, Zoltan Stieber, Rafael van der Vaart, Valmir Nafiu
The last cup victory for Hamburg against Bayern was several eras away. With the way Bayern wins the ball all over the field, Hamburg's only way through to the Round of 16 is to sneak one past Neuer, something that second-place Borussia Mönchengladbach could not do. Starting LewaRobbery from the beginning will allow Bayern to wear down Hamburg's subpar defenders, but it might take a while.
The Other Matches
Chemnitzer FC vs. SV Werder Bremen (Tuesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
Arminia Bielefeld vs. Hertha Berliner SC (Tuesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
Kickers Offenbach vs. Karlsruhe (Tuesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
VfR Aalen vs. Hannover 96 (Tuesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
MSV Duisburg vs. 1. FC Köln (Tuesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
1. FC Kaiserslautern vs. SpVgg Greuther Fürth (Tuesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
FC St. Pauli vs. Borussia Dortmund (Tuesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
Dynamo Dresden vs. VfL Bochum (Tuesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
1. FC Magdeburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Wednesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
FC Würzburger Kickers vs. Eintracht Braunschweig (Wednesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
TSV 1860 München vs. SC Freiburg (Wednesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
RB Leipzig vs. Erzgebirge Aue (Wednesday, 2:00 PM EDT)
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs. FSV Frankfurt (Wednesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
VfL Wolfsburg vs.1. FC Heidenheim (Wednesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach (Wednesday, 3:30 PM EDT)
UEFA Champions League Opponents
CSKA Moskva vs. Torpedo Moskva (Wednesday, 6:30 AM EDT)
AS Roma vs. Cesena (Wednesday, 3:45 PM EDT)
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United (Wednesday, 3:45 PM EDT)