Bundesliga: Preview of the weekend's action as Hamburg host Werder Bremen
Last Updated: January 25, 2013 11:08am
Borussia Dortmund: Chance to grab second spot
Derby matches in the north and south of Germany are the highlights of the 19th round of Bundesliga matches, while Borussia Dortmund get an early chance to make a move on second spot.
Hamburg host Werder Bremen for the 98th northern Germany derby match, having lost the last three meetings with Thomas Schaaf's men.
According to the form guide, that run should end on Saturday with Bremen arriving at the HSV-Arena off the back of a 5-0 humiliation at home to Dortmund while Hamburg are within striking distance of the top five.
"I would say that we have caught up with them," said Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink to the Kreiszeitung Syke.
"We are not better than them yet, but we can still win on Sunday. We are at home, have a 12th man behind us, but that's only a slight advantage.
"I have a good feeling."
The other derby on Sunday takes place at the bottom end of the country, but the top end of the table as Stuttgart host Bayern Munich, who started 2013 with a 2-0 win over Greuther Furth last weekend to maintain their nine-point advantage at the top of the table.
Their cushion over Stuttgart is 20 points, but that does not put off the Swabians.
"Bayern are undoubtedly the strongest side in the league, but if we give it all we've got then we can get something even against the record champions," said Stuttgart midfielder Christian Gentner on his club's website.
Dortmund are first up tomorrow night when they host Nurnberg, knowing that a win would take them second, still nine points behind Bayern.
"The fans should wrap up warm, and we'll do the rest," he said at a press conference.
Elsewhere this weekend, Hannover and Wolfsburg meet in another northern Germany derby match on Saturday with both sides needing a win to get in the frame for a place in Europe next season.
Augsburg look to build on their win at Fortuna Dusseldorf last weekend when they host Schalke with three points possibly enough to take them out of the bottom two for the first time this season.
That is dependent on Hoffenheim failing to get the better of Eintracht Frankfurt while bottom-placed Greuther Furth are still waiting for their first win in the top flight, and that could arrive against Mainz on Saturday.
Borussia Monchengladbach host Fortuna Dusseldorf in a North-Rhein Westphalia derby while, finally, high-flying Freiburg put second-placed Bayer Leverkusen to the test in Saturday evening's contest.