Hertha Berlin host Hoffenheim on Matchday 34 in a fixture that sees the Berlin club requiring a victory to aid their attempt at avoiding automatic relegation and land the coveted playoff position.
Saturday will see every Hertha fan clutching their radios intently, desperate for any updates from the Bayern Munich andKolnmatch. The fate of Otto Rehhagels men is not in their own hands with proceedings inBavariajust as crucial as events in the Olympic Stadium.
Victory for Kolnin Munichwill see ‘Die Alte Damene’ resigned to an automatic relegation spot, no matter what the result in Berlin. Victory for Hertha along with a Koln draw still may not be enough for the Gelsenkirchen club, as ‘The Billy Goats’ superior goal difference would require Rehhagel’s team to go goal crazy, which from recent results seems doubtful.
Regardless of what happens in Munich, the home team need to do their part and focus on a victory against Hoffenheim. King Otto has injury worries in key areas of the pitch as Goalkeeper Thomas Kraft, Fullback Christian Lell and striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga all missed training this week and remain doubts for the match.
On a positive note captain and key player, Levan Kobiashvili returns from suspension and is focused on a home victory and the possibility of avoiding automatic relegation.
“We got ourselves into this situation and we still have a chance – one final chance – to get ourselves out of it.”
Sitting eleventh in the Bundesliga table with no chance of being relegated or qualifying forEurope, this may seem like a rather meaningless fixture for Hoffenheim. When you factor in that former Hertha coach Markus Babbel is now at the helm of the away side, the game takes on a whole new dimension.
The confirmed signing of Delpierre, Wiese and Derdiyok shows that Hoffenheim and Babbel are already planning for next season but the former German Internationalist is firmly focused on the match at hand.
“I’ll have my team pumped up. It’s going to be no run-of-the-mill game in Berlin.”
Hoffenheim are currently on a run of three games without a victory and the home defeat toNurembergon Matchday 33 was a disappointing send off for the home supporters.
The players and management will be looking to end the season on a high with the chance to finish in the top ten a real possibility. For Babbel, the opportunity to return toBerlinand help relegate the club that sacked him earlier in the season, is to big an opportunity to miss.
“I want to win there, whatever it takes.”
Last 5 Matches
|2008/2009||24.04.2009||Hoffenheim Hoffenheim||Hertha BSC||
Levan Kobiashvili vs Boris Vukcevic
Levan Kobiashvili returns for Hertha after the frustration of sitting out last week’s humiliation at the hands of Schalke. The Georgian international will be a welcome boost to a defence that has been low in confidence. The Hertha captain should find himself up against Vukcevic who will be direct in his approach and look to cut inside the full back at every occasion. The Georgian needs to stop Vukcevic running in behind the defence or Hertha could be in real trouble.
Otto Rehhagel vs Markus Babbel
A tactical battle between the old and the new sees the youthful Babbel try to outthink the Wiley old fox Rehhagel. Hertha’s need for the victory means they have to press Hoffenheim from the start. Otto doesn’t tend to set his team out with an expansive philosophy but in this case his hands are tied. Babbel likes to play possession football but this game may be better suited having his players sit in and frustrate the home side. Attack or defend? Both men have big decisions to make.
Bundesliga Football Prediction: 2 – 1