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Bayern Munich Take on Decrepit Hamburg in DFB-Pokal Dress-Rehersal

The turmoil with the Rothosen will expose them as never before to Bayern's swarm

Oliver Hardt

Bayern Munich have squashed Hamburger SV like a bug the last few seasons, winning the last five meetings by a combined score of 24-to-4. The Bundesliga's oldest club is now more vulnerable than ever, and what has been a bit of a slap around might turn into a bare-bottom spanking.

Hamburg have implemented their tenth manager in the last five years, and the team look like chicken in a chicken coup on the field. They have not scored a goal in three matches in the Bundesliga, resulting in one measly point and the worst goal differential in the top flight.

Bayern will go north for what will be a dress rehearsal for their second round DFB-Pokal match in a month's time. Manager Pep Guardiola is implementing a ground-breaking, flexible system and reintegrating some key position players into the side.

The Match (114th Meeting)

Location: Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany

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Television and Streaming:
US: GolTV, MyGermanTV+
Canada: GolTV
Germany: Sky Bundesliga 2 | HD, Sky Go
Other Countries

The Fixture


FC Bayern: WWDWW
Hamburg: LLDW


Bundesliga: 58 W, 21 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)

The Squad

The blob that Guardiola has fielded has remained, well, unpredictable. What has remained consistent is the results Bayern have bagged. They have only allowed three goals in five games since their humiliating 0-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup, halting breaks and compacting the penalty area to hold their opponents at bay.

With a system starting to take shape, players are now returning to fill in the rest of the cracks. Franck Ribéry (knee) and Arjen Robben (ankle) both came off the bench the last two matches, but whether or not they can hop into the starting lineup is a whole other can of worms. Robben said himself that he is not prepared for a full shift.

"I hope that it stays good. I need to continue carefully, not exaggerate," said Robben after Bayern's Champions League victory. "I don't know if I can go 90. I need to pay attention to my body, to maintain it."

The script-flipping narrative continues in defense, Guardiola continuing his three-back experiment. What he is not afraid to do is play fullbacks David Alaba and Philipp Lahm in midfield, a structure that has allowed Bayern to keep the ball better and support the defense in a different dimension. Juan Bernat and Rafinha have been handed the flanks with the ever-shifting froth of Mario GötzeRobert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller, providing Bayern with the support it needs in attack.

In past seasons, Bayern were able to exploit the space against Hamburg like they were on the training pitch. With a new manager and new additions, it is back to the playground, fellas.

Projected Lineup (4-3-3):

Thomas Müller – Robert Lewandowski – Mario Götze

David Alaba – Xabi Alonso – Philipp Lahm

Juan Bernat – Jérôme BoatengMehdi Benatia – Rafinha

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Tom StarkeDante, Sebastian Rode, Gianluca Gaudino, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri, Claudio Pizarro

The Opponent

Hamburg made headlines this week with the sacking of Mirko Slomka, who oversaw one of the worst starts in the Rothosen's history. Hamburg have scored two goals in all competitions, including being shut out against recently-promoted 1. FC Köln and SC Paderborn 07. Slomka leaves with the second-worst point-per-match average (0.75) in Hamburg's history.

Ironically, Hamburg's reserves are doing the exact opposite. Hamburger SV II have not lost a match and have a plus-25 goal differential, so what do they do? Promote the manager to the first team. And thus Josef Zinnbauer's first-team managerial career is born.

Zinnbauer wants to play a possession game similar to the one Hamburg's past few managers have tried to employ. He recognizes that the tactic will not work against Bayern, but he is already leaving his mark on the training pitch, trying to get his side to play more of a physical game. No one expects him to win his debut, but the poise Hamburg plays with will be a takeaway from the match.

His biggest problem will be one he inherited from Slomka: the absence of his senior players. Marcel Jansen practiced this week, but he probably will not be fully fit from his groin injury. Rafael van der Vaart (muscle injury), Ivo Iličević (muscle problems), Slobodan Rajković (knee), Maximilian Beister (knee) will also be out for the game, forcing Zinnbauer to rely on his young additions. Last week Lewis Holtby played in a holding midfield role, but with an emphasis on physicality, Zinnbauer will likely rely on two holding midfielders to better shield the defense.

The expectations on Hamburg are lower than their finish in the Bundesliga last season, and the way they perform in Imtech Arena will speak volumes about their viability in the top-flight.

Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):

Pierre-Michel Lasogga

Julian Green – Lewis Holtby – Nicolai Müller

Valon Behrami – Tolgay Arslan

Matthias Ostrzolek – Heiko Westermann – Johan Djourou – Dennis Diekmeier

Jaroslav Drobný

Bench: René Adler, Cleber Reis, Petr Jiráček, Gojko Kačar, Matthias Steinmann, Zoltan Stieber, Artoms Rudņevs

The Outcome

There are two outcomes to the match: Bayern beats Hamburg, and Bayern embarrasses Hamburg. With the defensive disfunction in the team, Zinnbauer will have to come up with ingenious tactical schemes to cap Bayern's class. The flexible front will bring a lot of players out of position, resulting in many opportunities for Drobný to dig the ball out of the back of his net.

Projected Score: Hamburger SV (0-4) Bayern Munich

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