A raft of injuries to key players and a tough final fortnight has put Hamburg's perfect Bundesliga record under serious threat.
Hamburg are the only club to have played in all 51 seasons of the Bundesliga but after last week's 3-1 loss at Augsburg, the north German club have slipped five points from safety ahead of a clash with champions Bayern Munich on Saturday.
The northerners will complete their league campaign with a trip to Mainz, who could still be chasing UEFA Europa League qualification on the final day.
The injury list at Imtech Arena includes four regular first XI players, while Tolgay Arslan, who has made the most Bundesliga appearances this season, is suspended.
In a boost for Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka, captain Rafael van der Vaart (calf) and veteran Heiko Westermann (illness) will be available for selection against Bayern but the 46-year-old tactician knows it will be incredibly tough to get anything from the Bavarian giants.
"The lay of the land's pretty obvious when you're up against FC Bayern," Slomka said on Friday.
"But obviously we're going to go out there and give it everything we've got.
"We want to try to get right on top of them, make it as uncomfortable as possible and look to create the odd chance of our own."
Hamburg is expected to be without leading goal-scorer Pierre-Michel Lasogga (calf), his understudy Jacques Zoua (thigh), and key defenders Johan Djourou (hamstring) and Lasse Sobiech (ankle) against Bayern.
With Italian striker Mattia Maggio having struggled against Augsburg in a rare start, Slomka is likely to rotate Van der Vaart and Hakan Calhanoglu up front on Saturday, as Hamburg aim for a miraculous victory.
Stuttgart (32 points) sit ahead of Hamburg (27) in the last safe spot in the Bundesliga with Nuremberg (26) and last-placed Eintracht Braunschweig (25) able to overhaul Slomka's men if they lose to Bayern.
Hamburg need Stuttgart to lose their last two matches if they are to rise from 16th - which would force them into a two-legged relegation play-off with the third-placed club in 2.Bundesliga - and secure their safety.
Fortunately for Hamburg, Stuttgart also have a tough run home with games against fifth-placed Wolfsburg and Bayern.
But Slomka conceded his team are far behind Pep Guardiola's champions.
"Bayern absolutely dominate the Bundesliga," Slomka said.
"A point from the game would be a huge surprise and a win a sensation against them.
"If we want to cause a sensation, we're going to have go to the very limit."
If Hamburg defeat Bayern, and Nuremburg and Braunschweig lose to Hannover and Augsburg respectively in the penultimate round, Slomka's side will avoid automatic relegation but may still have to compete in the play-off.
|23||R. van der Vaart|
|Coach: M. Slomka|
for D. Diekmeier 60'
for R. van der Vaart 68'
for H. Westermann 76'
|Burnley 2 Watford 0: Landmark goals for Hendrick and Keane seal first win in four|
|Schmidt lauds hitman Hernandez|
|Klopp not banking on Liverpool winning title|
|Kroos plays down Ronaldo rage rumours|
|Confidence coursing through Copenhagen|
|Madrid form draws no concern for Zidane|
|Burki looking forward to ´dream´ Madrid clash|
|Juve and Higuain have work to do - Allegri|
|CSKA boss Slutski wary of Tottenham threat|
|Pochettino: Kane to return within three weeks|
|City youngster Diaz signs three-year deal|
|Aurier vows to ´continue working hard´ for PSG despite prison sentence|
|Tuchel expecting Ronaldo on top form|
|Ter Stegen eyes new Barcelona deal|
|Hazard: No excuse for Arsenal defeat|
|Cisse back in training with Auxerre|
|Hummels resumes training ahead of Atletico clash|
|Facing Barcelona´s MSN not a nightmare, insists Bravo|
|Thiago: Atletico defence best in the world|
|Alonso wants to end career at Bayern Munich|
|Ranieri went to Slimani for Porto advice|
|Draxler: Wolfsburg blocked my exit|
|Samoura defends abolishment of racism task force|
|Sampaoli backs Nasri for France recall|
|Gisdol ´twitching with joy´ at Hamburg presentation|
|Zanetti determined Inter will return to the top|
|Getafe sack Esnaider|
|Bartra happy with playing time at Dortmund|
|Aurier handed two-month prison sentence over police altercation|
|Klopp attributes Lallana´s fine form to hard work|
|Totti´s wife slams ´small man´ Spalletti|
|Guardiola has already done an amazing job at Manchester City - Alonso|
|Referees attacked by hooligans in Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Griezmann: I am not the anti-Benzema|
|Sterling hails Guardiola´s role in goalscoring form|
|Champions League Matchday Two: Madrid look for first win in Dortmund|
|Smalling confident Rooney will bounce back|
|Vardy fears ´permanent stain against my name´ following casino incident|
|Brave Wilshere will reap rewards of loan move - Howe|
|MLS Review: Sounders surprise Galaxy, Kamara double sinks New England|
|Walcott a special case - Wenger|
|Guardiola striving for more after perfect 10|
|Chelsea risk another mid-table finish, admits Conte|
|Montella feels AC Milan lacked courage|
|Robben speaks out on injury fears|
|Fiorentina 0 AC Milan 0: Ilicic misses penalty on Montella´s return|
|Gisdol replaces Labbadia at Hamburg|
|Ibrahimovic threatened me over Pogba deal - Raiola|
|Balotelli could make Nice return against Krasnodar|
|Southampton deserved to win – Bilic|
|Podolski takes aim at Mourinho over Schweinsteiger treatment|
|Atletico midfielder Augusto suffers ACL injury|
|Sagna: More to Aguero than goals|
|Errors are urgent matter for Schalke - Weinzierl|
|Puel delighted with sublime Southampton second half|
|Simeone praises ´decisive´ Gameiro|
|Noble: West Ham can´t get any worse|
|Pjanic: I will play wherever Allegri needs me|
|West Ham 0 Southampton 3: Defensive woes pile pressure on Bilic|
|Kondogbia makes the same mistakes often – De Boer|
|Gray backed by Dyche after ban for abusive social media posts|
|Gabriel needs time to get used to Serie A - Ausilio|
|Atletico Madrid´s Gimenez and Augusto doubts for Bayern Munich clash|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Griezmann downs 10-man Depor|
|Angry Spalletti slams Roma players´ attitude|
|Liverpool have unbelievable quality - Milner|
|Simeone´s son Giovanni scores first Serie A goal|
|Ivanovic: Chelsea let Conte down|
|Inter 1 Bologna 1: Battling Bologna end Inter streak|
|Guardiola: Top-four finish very tough for Man City|
|Rodgers expecting tough test against City and Aguero|
|Zamparini admits Balotelli interested Palermo|
|Former Swansea, Arsenal great Mel Charles dies|
|Asamoah, Rugani ruled out for up to seven weeks|
|Totti reaches 250 Serie A goals in Roma defeat|
|Alves makes LaLiga history as Valencia see off Leganes|
|Guardiola rues De Bruyne injury as Man City await scan|
|Las Palmas draw could prove costly, admits Morata|
|Gabriel explains choosing Inter over Juventus|
|Hamburg dismiss Labbadia|
|West Ham players expect Payet´s free-kick magic - Antonio|
|Man City must tell Guardiola to stop, says Toure´s agent|
|Hamsik thrilled to reach 100 Napoli goals|
|Zabaleta warns Man City over Celtic backlash|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls, Toronto into play-offs|
|´We were unlucky´ - Bale|
|Guardiola keen for Spurs test|
|Rodgers: I never fell out with Sterling|
|Wenger hails ´different´ Walcott|
|Mazzarri backs Deeney for England call-up|
|Mamelodi Sundowns and Zamalek reach CAF Champions League final|