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Preview: Bayern Munich look for their next win in Hamburg

After dispatching Celtic at home, Jupp Heynckes and his team set their sights on a lumbering Dinosaur

Hamburger SV v SV Werder Bremen - Bundesliga Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

After they successfully relaunched their Champions League campaign with a dominant victory over Celtic FC, Bayern Munich now will head north to hapless Hamburg, as the club continues its mission to climb to the top of the Bundesliga table.

Bayern expect few surprises from Heynckes

Jupp Heynckes made clear at the pre-game press conference that he does not intend to rotate the starting lineup extensively. Although sometimes dramatic rotation has lately been en vogue, Heynckes stated, “I know from experience that you first have to get on track and gain self-confidence and security.”

The theme of the lineup thus remains stability. Since Heynckes’s “breakwater,” Javi Martinez is anticipated to miss the game on account of his minor shoulder injury (Heynckes stated last week that Javi would miss two games), it seems likely that Heynckes will again field a midfield tandem of Thiago and Rudy.

Although his performance was overshadowed by others, Rudy quietly completed 66 passes for an incredible 99% accuracy and made 4 successful tackles (on 7 attempts).

Unless Arturo Vidal can contain himself and play the defensive role that Heynckes has asked of Javi and Rudy, even he will likely find himself on the bench.

On offense, in contrast, there is more room for rotation. James Rodriguez played briefly against Celtic, but may stand to join the starting lineup now. Having secured a convincing Champions League victory, Heynckes may give Arjen Robben some rest. Above, I have put James on the wing and Müller in the center, but their positions could easily be reversed. Overlapping runs by two interpreters of space could potentially be devastating for Hamburg's porous defense.

Hamburg: new season, same struggles

Hamburg's season got off on the wrong foot, despite a victory over Augsburg: their star midfielder Nikolai Müller ruptured a knee ligament while celebrating what proved to be the game-winning goal. Hamburg defeated winless Köln the week after, but have not won a game since then.

They will greet Bayern at home after returning from a 3:2 drubbing in Mainz. In their last six games against Bayern, Hamburg have won a single point while conceding 13 goals.

Head coach Markus Gisdol normally lines his team up in a 4-3-3, but that may well be suicidal against an in-form Bayern Munich. As Kicker reports, this week he has had the team practice playing with back three with wing-backs that can fall back to make a back five on defense. Gisdol said, “We’ve always done that in preparation. Against Bayern, you have to have this variant at your fingertips.”

Unless Gisdol decides to field a 4-3-3 anyway, the Dinosaurs’ lineup will probably resemble this. Kyriakos Papadopoulos is the real anchor of Hamburg’s defense and a legitimate threat on set-pieces. In the midfield, Albin Ekdal has arguably been Hamburg’s best player this season.

None of Hamburg’s players have scored more than a single goal, but all eyes will be on American Bobby Wood, who would certainly like to shake off the gloom of the USA’s failed World Cup campaign. He may well have to wait another week.

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