Real rout boosts Hamburg's hopes against Bayern
Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng dives for the ball during the match against Real Madrid in Munich, Germany, on April 29, 2014 - by Christof Stache
Hamburg, the only club in Germany's top flight to have never gone down, sit third from bottom in the table and at risk of an historic relegation.
A thousand fans watched the team go through their paces on Thursday and shouts of "never in the second division!" echoed around the training ground.
Hamburg are five points from safety with two games left and desperately need points against champions Bayern to climb out of the bottom three.
If they finish 16th, they will face a last chance play-off against the third-placed side in the second division to try to maintain their Bundesliga place.
But Bayern's Champions League exit in Tuesday's 4-0 semi-final, second-leg drubbing at home to Real has given Hamburg hope, says Netherlands star Van der Vaart.
"It's a matter of survival and honour for us. If we give our all, then we also have a chance against Bayern," said the 31-year-old, who is hoping to play after recovering from a calf injury.
But the Dutch playmaker says Hamburg must be confident against Bayern.
"We need to show some balls, Bayern won't give anything away and it would be really bad for them to lose two games in a row," he said.
Since being confirmed Bundesliga champions with a record seven games to spare at the end of last month, Bayern have produced some below-par performances which culminated in their drubbing at the hands of Real.
"After the defeat to Real, Bayern are sure to have no great desire to get on the plane to Hamburg. We want to annoy them," said director of sport Oliver Kreuzer in a radio interview.
The Bavarian giants have wounded pride and will be looking to bounce back at Hamburg ahead of their German Cup final against arch rivals Borussia Dortmund in Berlin on May 17.
"We need to quickly lick our wounds so we put in a better performance in the Cup final against Dortmund," insisted chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Hamburg have suffered some heavy losses to Bayern recently, being routed 5-0 at home in February's German Cup quarter-finals and humbled 9-2 in Munich in the league in March 2013.
Hamburg, for whom Mirko Slomka is their third coach this season after Thorsten Fink and Bert van Marwijk were both fired, are low on confidence after six defeats in their last ten games.
Even Kreuzer has voiced doubts they will survive.
"There are legitimate doubts about a positive outcome. I have been waiting for weeks to see a reaction from the players," he fumed after Hamburg's lacklustre 3-1 defeat at home to mid-table Augsburg last Sunday, their third loss in a row.
Hamburg have a few personnel worries with Germany pair Heiko Westermann, Marcell Jansen and Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu all struggling with injuries or illness.
The top two places in the league are already decided with Bayern champions and Borussia Dortmund uncatchable in second.
Schalke 04 are set to finish third, but the fight for fourth, which carries the final Champions League place for next season, rages on between Wolfsburg, who are at strugglers VfB Stuttgart, and Bayer Leverkusen, who are at mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt.
At the other end of the table, bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig are at home to Augsburg while Nuremberg, who are 17th, host Hanover 96 with both teams knowing defeat could see them automatically relegated.
Saturday (All times 1300 GMT)
Borussia Dortmund v Hoffenheim, Bor. Moenchengladbach v Mainz 05, VfB Stuttgart v VfL Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen v Hertha Berlin, Nuremberg v Hanover 96, Freiburg v Schalke 04, Hamburg v Bayern Munich, Eintracht Braunschweig v Augsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayer Leverkusen