Following a mixed bag of results in their opening two games of the season, Hertha Berlin will be looking to assert their dominance against fellow mid-table team Schalke. Both teams have a draw and a loss to their name following the start of the season and will both be looking to use this game a springboard for the rest of the season.
Berlin started the season with a great deal of promise as they held champions Bayern Munich to a well-fought 2-2 draw, however it could have easily had been a 2-1 win if it weren’t for Liverpool loanee Marko Gruijc’s ill-timed challenge in the penalty box that gave Robert Lewandowski the chance the double his tally for the day. There were fewer positives from the second game however as they were beaten well be a reinvigorated Wolfsburg team 3-0 at home.
Meanwhile, whilst the Berlin team were giving the champs a good game, tomorrow’s opposition Schalke were playing out a bore draw to Borussia Monchengladbach as the game ended 0-0. On the second outing, it didn’t get much better as they played Bayern, defaulting to a 3-0 defeat, completing an underwhelming start to the season.
Last time out the two teams played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, where the match was really done by half time. Yevhen Konoplyanka put Schalke ahead in the 17th minute, with Gruijc scoring the equaliser 22 minutes later. From there the game went in Schalke’s favour with Mark Uth putting the visiting side up 2-1. On the stroke of half time, Bosnian international Vedad Ibisevic bought Berlin back to 2-2. On the day Schalke had the rub of the green and had more solid possession, but Hertha Berlin’s grit and determination allowed them to hold out for the draw.
Hertha Berlin are without Arnie Maier and Dedrick Boyata for this game as they are both injured but they have no suspensions to deal with which makes the blow a little easier to handle. Schalke are without any injuries or suspensions meaning that Hertha should expect a full-strength Schalke side, other than the absence of centre defender Matija Nastasic who has an infection. Potentially this could be a big blow for the team as Hertha will look to exploit the gap left by the absence of the experienced defender.
Predicted Line ups
Schalke 04 – 4-3-3
Alexander Nuebel (GK) JonJoe Kenny, Benjamin Stambouli, Salif Sane, Bastian Oczipka, Weston McKennie, Omar Mascarell, Daniel Caligiuri, Guido Burgstaller, Benito Raman, Amine Harit.
Hertha Berlin – 4-2-3-1
Rune Jarstein (GK), Marvin Plattenhardt, Karim Rekik, Niklas Stark, Lukas Klunter, Vladimir Darida, Marko Gruijc, Salomon Kalou, Ondrej Duda, Dodi Lukebakio, Vedad Ibisevic.
Speaking in a press conference Hertha manager Ante Covic referenced the start of the season and how it has been difficult for both teams. "Both teams had a challenging start and got off to a similar start, and the Schalke game could spark off the winner - we would not mind if we did."
Schalke manager, David Wagner thinks that the visitors are at a similar level to Schalke and feels like it could be a big game that could kickstart their season. “They are a team that we can handle – they have a lot of new faces too.” He said talking in a press conference ahead of the game tomorrow.