20:45 (CEST), Monday 14th August, Ostseestadion (Rostock, Germany) BT Sport 3
Hansa Rostock are embarking on their 5th consecutive season in the 3.Liga after being relegated from the second tier in 2012. They have had a positive string of results this campaign under new manager Pavel Dochev as they look to regain promotion to 2. Bundesliga.
The opposition, Hertha Berlin enter their biggest campaign as they prepare for the Europa League as well as their domestic responsibilities. Pál Dárdai has added multiple players across the park as they look to remain as a top 5 in German football.
Last Time Out
Hansa Rostock 1-2 SV Meppen (3.Liga)
Rostock entered their week 4 clash with newly promoted Meppen as they looked to remain unbeaten in the third tier. The hosts started well producing multiple opportunities on the Meppen goal. But on 25 minutes disaster struck Hansa as they were reduced to 10 men. Captain Amaury Bischoff had possession before elbowing the chasing Nico Granatowski.
Meppen would play the waiting game and on 51 minutes they were rewarded Markus Ballmert teed up Benjamin Girth. Hansa would respond from a set piece with Fabian Holthaus producing an excellent corner and Marcel Ziemer producing the finish. The villain in the piece Nico Granatowski would then steal the game for Meppen on 88 minutes. An absolute belting from at least 30 yards to see Hansa succumb to their first defeat of the season.
Hertha Berlin 2-1 Galatasaray (Friendly)
Hertha Berlin played their last club friendly against Turkish side Galatasaray last Sunday. New signing Karim Rekik opened the scoring for the capital club thanks to a pin point set piece by Marvin Plattenhardt. Galatasaray would apply plenty of pressure and on the hour mark, Eren Derdiyok popped up to level the scores. Hertha would go on and win the friendly on 74 minutes, Alexander Esswein with the cross and captain Vedad Ibišević tapping home from close range.
Hansa Rostock Lineup
Although the defeat, Hansa dominated Meppen and it would be unfair to see to many changes from the side that faced defeat. Manager Pavel Dochev might leave captain Amaury Bischoff out after his lack of discipline contributed in there dismiss. I would think his quality would be too much to leave out as Rostock go unchanged.
Hertha Berlin Lineup
Pál Dárdai has plenty of option to choose from for their opening DFB Pokal clash in Rostock. They will be without new signings Davie Selke and Valentino Lazaro who will miss the contest due to injury. We expect a 4-2-3-1 formation and we should see some of their new signings featuring, the likes of Karim Rekik and Mathew Leckie will feature with the later coming off the bench.
Key Battle: Janis Blaswich vs Vedad Ibišević
Hansa goalkeeper Janis Blaswich will be under plenty of pressure on Monday night but will be hoping his colours aren’t lowered against Hertha. Blaswich is currently on loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach and this season, the shot stopper has been in great form for Rostock. In 4 league appearances, Blaswich has kept 3 clean sheets, conceding only twice which came last week against Meppen.
Vedad Ibišević is one of the top goal scorers in the Bundesliga and has been for some time. Ibišević has scored more than 10 goals 6 times in his 10 year Bundesliga career and last season he netted 12 times in 32 appearances. He is potent in front of goal and will be a real handful for the Hansa defence and Janis Blaswich in goal.
Hertha Berlin struggled massively on the road last campaign and it will be interesting to see if they have rectified their travelling blues. Last campaign, Hertha took 12 points in their travels last season with Mainz, Hamburg, and Darmstadt all accumulating fewer points. It was a major issue for the capital club which went on a nine-game winless run on their travels and if it wasn’t for their triumphs at homes, they would’ve been a lower mid table side. Can Rostock make Hertha uncomfortable away?
The key for Hansa Rostock will be to not handicap themselves against their Bundesliga opponents. This season, Rostock have already accumulated seven yellow cards and a red so far which has them 15th in the 3.Liga for fair play. As was shown last week, Rostock dominated their opponents in Meppen but going a man down eventually took its toll on the hosts. Can Rostock keep their emotions in check on this momentous occasion for the third tier club?
Prediction: Hansa Rostock 1-2 Hertha Berlin
It will be an interesting contest to end the 1st round of the DFB Pokal with Hertha Berlin looking to get off to the best possible start to their domestic campaign. Hansa will provide themselves as a tricky opponent and will test Rune Jarstein in the Hertha goal. Berlin’s options going forward will eventually be too much to handle for the third division club as the capital club book their place into the next round.
Can Hansa Rostock spring the surprise and send Hertha Berlin packing? Let us know in the comments section below.
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