Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink, whose team flirted with relegation for much of last season, has yet to see his players kick-start their campaign after failing to win a point in the league.
"We need the initial spark," Fink said. "Then we will start gaining in self-confidence."
His team has so far showed some character coming from two goals down to level against Eintracht Frankfurt last week but eventually losing 3-2.
"Against Dortmund we are the huge outsiders so we have nothing to lose and that could set our minds free," Fink said.
Fink will be counting on the talents of crowd favourite Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart, who returned to the club he played from 2005 to 2008.
The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is expected to lead the charge to move Hamburg off the bottom spot. His first game back was against Frankfurt.
Hamburg, who are preparing celebrations for their 125th birthday, are the only ever present team in the Bundesliga since it was founded half a century ago.
"We have to do this together," said Van der Vaart. "The guys are doing a good job and they showed (against Frankfurt) that they want to fight."
"Hopefully the stadium will be hot against Dortmund and we can go out and beat them. They are a good team but we should not fear them," said the German club's 13 million-euros signing.
Reigning champions Dortmund, trailing leaders Bayern Munich by two points, have lost none of their sharpness that won them the domestic double last season. They confirmed their good form with a 1-0 win over Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Bayern, top of the table with maximum points from three matches and fresh from their opening 2-1 Champions League win over Valencia on Wednesday, travel to fellow Champions League competitors Schalke.
Schalke, level on seven points with Dortmund, are also on a high after kicking off their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win at Olympiacos on Tuesday.
Promoted Frankfurt, the only other team with maximum points, take on Nuremberg on Friday.
- Eintracht Frankfurt