14:30 (BST); Sunday 1st October; Olympiastadion (Berlin, Germany) BT Sport 2
Hertha Berlin return to the Olympiastadion on the back of another away-day defeat to face a reeling Bayern Munich in the German capital. With the recent sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, it’s fair to say Bayern haven’t had the best start to their season. Their last two results have showcased several vulnerabilities within the squad and a win in Berlin would settle the nerves somewhat. Pál Dárdai’s side are playing their 7th game in 23 games and will hope not to run into a rejuvenated Bayern side who will look to impress interim manager Willy Sagnol.
Last time out
Östersund 1-0 HERTHA BERLIN [Europa League]
Hertha Berlin made the journey to Sweden to take on Svenska Cupen winners Östersund on Thursday night. It was a less than ideal start for Hertha when Jordan Torunarigha handled the ball inside the area. Östersund captain Brwa Nouri stepped up and scored, sending goalkeeper Thomas Kraft the wrong way.
The Berlin club struggled to get into the contest and their less-fancied opponents were on top for the vast majority of the game. Hertha’s best chance came late when Östersund’s Tom Pettersson nearly volleyed the ball into his own net. Only a fantastic headed save by Aly Keita kept the ball out. With only a draw to their name, Hertha remain bottom of Group J.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 BAYERN MUNICH [Champions League]
Bayern Munich were looking to rebound from their disastrous draw at home to Wolfsburg as they made the journey to the Parc des Princes to face Paris Saint-Germain. The hosts got off to a flying start when Dani Alves scored inside the opening two minutes.
Edinson Cavani got in on the act on 31 minutes as his powerful shot was too hot to handle for Manuel Neuer’s temporary replacement, Sven Ulreich. Neymar secured the points just after the hour mark to see Bayern succumb to a first loss in the Champions League, spelling the end of Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure in Munich.
Hertha Berlin Lineup
Pál Dárdai will be without the club captain Vedad Ibišević after his sending off against Mainz last Friday. He’ll miss the next two matches and Alexander Esswein is favourite to start up front as his replacement. Vladimir Darida will return to the starting XI for the first time since Matchday 5 with Fabian Lustenberger dropping to the bench.
Bayern Munich Lineup
After a disappointing result in Paris, interim boss Willy Sagnol needs a response from his side who won’t want to fall behind even further to current leaders Borussia Dortmund. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry were left out of the starting XI on Wednesday but should return with Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez making way. Willy Sagnol is likely to favour a 4-2-3-1 formation to rehabilitate recently out-of-favour Thomas Müller.
Key Battles: Mathew Leckie vs Thomas Müller
Mathew Leckie has been an excellent for Hertha since his signing from Ingolstadt, finding the net four times in his opening six appearances. Interestingly, the Australian has scored all of his goals at the Olympiastadion which is all the more unusual considering Leckie failed to score for the whole of last season. Pál Dárdai will look for the Australian to pop up and score at home once again.
Thomas Müller has had a mixed start to this season’s Bundesliga campaign, managing a goal and an assist so far. The German international was clearly unhappy under Ancelotti who continually played him out of position or even left out of the team altogether. With Bayern already three points behind league leaders Dortmund, the Bundesliga champions need Müller firing on all cylinders if they are to close the gap on the leaders.
Like many sides in the Bundesliga, Hertha Berlin have struggled to keep Bayern Munich under wraps historically. In 62 meetings between the two sides, Hertha Berlin have won just 8 times with their last win against Bayern Munich coming in 2008/09 season. Hertha face an uphill task but can they catch Bayern reeling from their defeat in midweek?
Auf Wiedersehen, Carlo
It was a difficult time in Munich for manager Carlo Ancelotti. After winning just the Bundesliga in his first season, the second campaign in charge had been tricky with an away defeat to Hoffenheim and the draw to Wolfsburg within the first 6 games. Ancelotti lost the dressing room early in the season and bringing in players like James Rodriguez rubbed the squad, in particular, Thomas Müller, the wrong way.
Prediction: Hertha Berlin 0-2 Bayern Munich
Despite struggling on the road, Hertha Berlin’s home form has been superb with Die Alte Dame accruing 7 points from 9 available. Bayern Munich have had a worrying past week yet their impressive record against Hertha is cause for optimism. This should be a bump in the road for Bayern who are likely to return to winning ways to inflict a first home defeat of the season upon Hertha.
Can Hertha Berlin return to winning ways or will Bayern Munich keep themselves in close quarters with Borussia Dortmund? Let us know in the comments section below.
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