14:30 GMT 21 January 2017
The Wolfsburg v Hamburger SV match will be played on Saturday, January 21, at the Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg. This is matchday 17 in the 2016/17 Bundesliga season and signals the end of the winter break.
Wolfsburg are 13th with 16 points while Hamburg are 16th with 13 points.
Wolfsburg has scored twice or less in 15 of their 16 Bundesliga games so far this season.
Despite this, they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season, in their final two games before Christmas.
Hamburg has won three of their last four Bundesliga matches and has lost just one of their last six (W3, D2).
Three of the last four meetings between the two sides in Wolfsburg have finished 1:1.
Seven of Hamburg’s last nine goals has seen a total of three or more goals scored.
This is the first meeting between the two sides this season. In 2015/16, Wolfsburg won 1:0 in Hamburg while the corresponding fixture in Wolfsburg ended 1:1.
Hamburg hasn’t won a Bundesliga meeting between the two sides since 2011 (D5, L5). All of the drawn games have finished 1:1.
Head to head matches: VfL Wolfsburg - Hamburger SV
|07.05.2016||Bund||Hamburger SV||VfL Wolfsburg||0:1|
|12.12.2015||Bund||VfL Wolfsburg||Hamburger SV||1:1|
Latest matches: VfL Wolfsburg
|10.01.2017||Club||VfL Wolfsburg||Erzgebirge Aue||0:0||D|
|07.01.2017||Club||SC Heerenveen||VfL Wolfsburg||2:1||L|
|17.12.2016||Bund||VfL Wolfsburg||Eintracht Frankfurt||1:0||W|
|10.12.2016||Bund||Bayern Munich||VfL Wolfsburg||5:0||L|
Latest matches: Hamburger SV
|09.01.2017||Club||Al-Nasr SC Dubai||Hamburger SV||0:5||W|
|20.12.2016||Bund||Hamburger SV||FC Schalke 04||2:1||W|
|17.12.2016||Bund||1 FSV Mainz 05||Hamburger SV||3:1||L|
|10.12.2016||Bund||Hamburger SV||FC Augsburg||1:0||W|
|04.12.2016||Bund||SV Darmstadt 98||Hamburger SV||0:2||W|
So far this season, Wolfsburg has signed fourteen players and sold eleven. Included in those leaving were Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle; Die Wölfe are suffering because of the turbulence, dragged into the relegation battle by disjointed performances.
New ‘boy’ Mario Gomez is top scorer with 4 league goals (5 in total) and the lack of goals is a major problem. Only four teams have scored less, three of whom occupy the relegation spots.
Signed this winter so far, Paul-Georges Ntep and Yunnus Malli have joined as well as Dutch youngster, Reichedly Bazoer. All three are expected to make their debuts in this fixture although Bazoer may be on the bench alongside the other signing, Victor Osimeh.
Guessing Valerien Ismael’s starting line-up this weekend is like pinning a tale on the donkey. However, with six players out or doubtful, highly-rated Swiss international Ricardo Rodriguez is likely to continue in the centre of defence with Yannick Gerhardt taking his left back berth.
Without a win before December, Hamburg racked up three in four games before Christmas, as well as adding two more to the list in friendlies during the winter break.
Goals were their problem, failing to score in seven games between mid-September and a 2:5 thrashing in Dortmund. Since that November afternoon, they’ve scored eight in six games and are making up for lost time.
Even so, they’ve only won once on the road, in Darmstadt. A win in this match would drag Wolfsburg, Monchengladbach and Werder Bremen down into the relegation fight. This is Hamburg’s territory, with two successful play-off wins in the past three seasons.
After last year’s 10th place, they hoped things would be better this time around but it’s back to the same old business.
Rene Adler is injured once more so Christian Mathenia keeps his place although new signing Kyriakos Papadopoulos is likely to be on the bench with Margim Mavraj alongside Johan Djourou in the centre of defence.
Lewis Holtby is back in the squad after suspension while all eyes are on Nicolai Muller and Michael Gregoritsch who have four goals in the last six games between them.
Neither side is free-scoring so a tight game is expected in the Volkswagen Arena. With both sides aware that losing will put them deeper into the relegation mire, the strongest defence will probably win.
Who that will be is unknown. Hamburg are in the better form and with more new arrivals, Wolfsburg may need a couple of games to get going.
Even so, Hamburg’s appalling away form and record in Wolfsburg, puts them on the back foot. History suggests a 1:1 draw and this season, there’s precious little reason to disagree with it.
21 January 2017 - 14:30 GMT
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