At 8.30pm local time tonight, referee Bastian Dankert’s whistle will start Germany’s football season, when record-champions and clear favourites Bayern Munich take on Hamburger SV, the ailing giant from the North, at the Allianz Arena. Pep Guardiola’s side go into the 2015/16 season as the team to beat and despite some reports of some unrest, league rivals will find it hard to genuinely compete for the Bundesliga title that seems packed and ready to be picked up by the club from Munich.
Similarly, tonight’s game is one of contrasts. The home side put 15 goals past Hamburg in their last four Bundesliga encounters alone, with the most recent game at Allianz Arena ending in a 8-0 defeat for the Northerners. In addition to such unpleasant history, Hamburg can also look back at a shocking start to this season’s football schedule, after going into to extra-time and losing by 3-2 against Carl Zeiss Jena from German football’s fourth tier in the first round of the domestic cup competition. Having just managed to avoid relegation from the top tier by beating 2. Bundesliga side Karlsruhe in the relegation play-off, Hamburg do not look like an improved team. Instead, the club look less confident than ever, after being rocked by a scandal surrounding the first team’s salary details that were found on a piece of paper at a local park.
At the other end of the pitch stands Germany’s biggest club and the league’s strongest squad. Despite losing club-legend Bastian Schweinsteiger to English giants Manchester United this summer, the squad’s quality is undeniable. New additions such as Brazilian winger Douglas Costa are set to light the league on fire and the likes of Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben will be keen to get the season going. It will be just as intriguing to watch new signing Arturo Vidal who will surely boss midfield with his tenacity and his relentless willingness to run.
Ultimately, Hamburg will certainly be overwhelmed tonight and it is hard to see full-backs Diekmeier and Ostrzolek coping with the trickery and speed of Costa and Robben respectively. Furthermore, recent statistics underline Bayern Munich’s superiority in this match-up. Bayern are undefeated in 31 of their last 34 Bundesliga home games. Hamburg on the other hand, have failed to win 25 of their last 28 away matches in the competition. In eight of their last nine matches against the Northern Germans, Bayern have scored at least three goals. The team from Munich have also beaten Hamburg at home in the last six games. In other words, there is little chance for Hamburg to leave Munich with anything but a beating.
Although last season’s 8-0 (click here for highlights) might be unlikely, we at Shots & Goals believe that the record-champion will win this game by a margin. Our prediction is a pretty one-sided 4-0.