14:30 BST, Saturday 28th October, Olympiastadion (Berlin, Germany)
Hertha Berlin have lost their way somewhat in recent weeks and they will look for a win at home when they take on Hamburg at the Olympiastadion.
Hamburg enter this clash on a seven-game skid with their win against Köln on Matchday 2 which seems like an eternity ago now. They are one of only two sides who aren’t playing in midweek after being bundled out of the DFB Pokal at the hands of Osnabruck.
In Hertha’s last Bundesliga encounter, they came from behind to secure a draw with Freiburg.
Last Time Out
Hertha Berlin 1-3 Köln (DFB Pokal)
Hertha Berlin had the luxury of hosting their 2nd round DFB Pokal tie with a Köln side winless since August. But it would be Köln who got the jump on the fancied hosts when Simon Zoller to beat Rune Jarstein at his near post. Moments later, it was 2-0 for Köln when Dominic Maroh stuck his boot out to steer in Milos Jojic’s corner.
With Hertha failing to turn up, Köln dominated proceedings. It wasn’t long before it was 3-0 in the capital: Christian Clemens on hand to finish into the empty after Simon Zoller’s shot rattled the woodwork. Niklas Stark would provide a consolation goal for Hertha in what was another dire display.
Hamburg 0-1 Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
Hamburg welcomed the Bundesliga achampions to the Volksparkstadion for the late kick-off on Saturday. Bayern looked dangerous from the outset with Arjen Robben walking through the Hamburg defence before missing the target. Hamburg were left with an even tougher task when Gideon Jung hacked Kingsley Coman from behind with the Hamburg midfielder getting his marching orders.
Bayern would capitalize with the man advantage early in the second half, Corentin Tolisso poking home from close range. Hamburg didn’t threaten in the rest of the game as they succumbed to another defeat.
Hertha Berlin Lineup
Hertha Berlin will be without Sebastian Langkamp in defence due to a calf injury with Niklas Stark and Karim Rekik teaming up again in the central defensive area. Vedad Ibišević has been leading the line for Hertha this season but the club captain has struggled so far. He will likely be replaced by Davie Selke who seems to be their best option going forward at present.
Last time out, Hamburg adopted a 5-3-2 formation which held Bayern Munich at bay. Facing weaker opponents, Hamburg will probably revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Douglas Santos dropping to the bench with Rick van Drongelen moving to left back. Gideon Jung is out with suspension with Walace going coming in.
Key Battle: Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin) vs Dennis Diekmeier (Hamburg)
Entering the twilight years of an impressive career, Hertha Berlin relied on the experience of Salomon Kalou in the past couple of seasons. At 32, Kalou has been one of few bright patches for Berlin with the Ivorian scoring three times from eight appearances. Only Mathew Leckie has scored more often for Hertha this season.
Kalou found the net in his last Bundesliga match in Freiburg but should have had two had he not missed a penalty. Berlin will lean on Salomon Kalou once again on Saturday.
His direct opponent will be Hamburg right back Dennis Diekmeier. The 28-year-old is entering a contract year at Hamburg with his current deal running out at the end of the season.
In this campaign, Diekmeier has played like someone playing for his future and he will hope to do a job on Salomon Kalou in the capital. Whether he can thwart the Ivorian remains to be seen but Hamburg will expect nothing but the best from their first-choice right back.
Can old dogs learn new tricks?
Once again, the same old Hamburg have come to the forefront. They may have won their first two Bundesliga fixtures in relative comfort but since then they have struggled to muster anything with six defeats in their last seven matches. A draw at home to Werder Bremen in the Nordderby is all they have to show for their past performances. Can Hamburg fight back or will they remain in their current slump?
There are plenty of reasons to question the character of Hertha Berlin after two average performances in the Bundesliga. Hertha’s last win came on Matchday 5 to Bayer Leverkusen and since then they have only mustered draws to Bayern Munich at home and an away point at Freiburg. Berlin need to provide more if they are to repeat last season impressive campaign and win against Hamburg would help the cause.
Prediction: Hertha Berlin 1-0 Hamburg
Both sides enter the clash in questionable form and with neither team unable to afford the luxury of dropping points, this encounter will be tight. Expect chances to be few and fair between as a tentative approach is applied by both clubs. One goal should be enough and, considering Berlin’s relatively solid home record, it should be enough to get Hertha over the line.
Will Hertha Berlin stop the rot or can Hamburg end their seven game skid? Let us know in the comments section below
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