BREMEN, Germany, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Hamburg SV's Bundesliga match at home to Bayern Munich on Saturday may offer one final chance for coach Thomas Doll to inspire a revival at the sorry northern club.
Hamburg's 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday left them without a point from five matches and their Bundesliga form has been almost as bad.
With 13 games played they are second from bottom with just one win, and a total of 11 points.
Doll has been assured that his job is safe for the time being but the patience of the club cannot be limitless.
If Saturday's game is to spell the start of a fightback rather than the end for Doll, the team will have to recapture the spirit that served them so well last season.
There was some sign of that in the defeat against Arsenal. The Germans took the lead with a great strike from Rafael van der Vaart and scrapped hard throughout.
'Our only chance is to pick ourselves up and get back in there fighting,' goalkeeper Stefan Waechter told reporters after the latest European disappointment.
'That way I know we will win again, although I'm not sure when that will be.'
Hamburg may see some hope from Bayern Munich's less than convincing start to their title defence.
The Bavarians have lost three away games in the Bundesliga already this season. A 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart last weekend still left them three points behind leaders Schalke 04 in fourth place.
Bayern, of course, have had a much happier time of it in Europe. They are clear at the top of Group B after a 2-2 draw away to Spartak Moscow on Wednesday and their place in the knock-out phase is secure.
Still, Hamburg will see the extra day they have had to prepare as an advantage as they seek to climb out of the bottom three.
Schalke have the chance to extend their lead to five points, at least overnight, when they play at home to neighbours Bochum on Friday.
Schalke have won three in a row since their 2-2 draw with Bayern, scoring 10 goals in the process.
They should be strengthened by the return from injury of Lincoln, the Brazilian playmaker, and Bochum, in 16th place, are likely to struggle.
VfB Stuttgart should be confident of bouncing back from their defeat against Bayern by beating Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.
Gladbach's 1-0 defeat by Hanover 96 last weekend was their sixth match without a win in the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen have slipped to second place, two points behind Schalke, after managing just a point from their last two matches.
They pulled off an outstanding 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday, though, and if they find anything like the same form they should get back on track at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday.