Two teams who are trying to save their seasons face off on Saturday as Hertha Berlin hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Olympiastadion.
Last Sunday's rivalry match between Union Berlin and Hertha ended in a 1-1 draw, but Die Alte Dame manager Pál Dárdai was extremely disappointed afterwards. The second half was dominated by the hosts, with his side sitting back and showing very little intent on finding a winner. In the Hungarian's post-match press conference, he said, "I didn't recognise my team." It will be interesting to see if Hertha operate more offensively against Gladbach.
As for the visitors, a second win on the bounce has lifted them right back into European contention. A 2-1 victory over SC Freiburg, combined with Borussia Dortmund's defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, saw Die Fohlen move to within four points of 5th. In what was a game of two halves, Freiburg dominated the first and arguably deserved to be more than one goal ahead going into the interval. However, a Marcus Thuram inspired Gladbach turned the affair on its head, equating to a huge three points for Marco Rose's men against a side who had European ambitions of their own.
With both teams needing the three points for differing reasons, expect this match to be hotly contested.
Hertha Berlin - A number of key players are likely to be missing this weekend for Hertha. Dedryck Boyata appeared for Belgium during the recent international break despite missing club action since December, and he is likely to miss the rest of the season after picking up another injury. Both Vladimir Darida and Lucas Tousart are suspended, while goalkeeper Rune Jarstein may be out again after missing the Berlin derby with COVID-19. Expect Alexander Schwolow to deputise for him if he isn't able to feature.
Borussia Monchengladbach - The only two doubts for Mönchengladbach are Nico Elvedi, who picked up an injury in training last week, and Jonas Hofmann, who tested positive for COVID-19 while away with Germany. The latter's isolation period ended on Friday, so he could start on Saturday or at least make the bench.
Hertha Berlin - Alexander Schwolow; Márton Dárdai, Niklas Stark, Lukas Klünter; Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Santiago Ascacibar, Matteo Guendouzi, Maximilian Mittelstädt; Dodi Lukébakio, John Cordoba, Matheus Cunha
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Oscar Wendt; Florian Neuhaus, Christoph Kramer; Valentino Lazaro, Lars Stindl, Marcus Thuram; Alassane Pléa
Hertha Berlin - LWLWD - last game - 1-1 vs Union Berlin
Borussia Mönchengladbach - last game - 2-1 (W) vs SC Freiburg
Ones to watch
Hertha Berlin - Since Pál Dárdai returned to Hertha, one player that has significantly benefited is right-back Deyovaisio Zeefuik. Under former manager Bruno Labbadia, the summer signing from Groningen was in and out of team, playing one game before being dropped the next. In recent weeks, though, he has become a fixture in the starting lineup, which has led to a more consistent run of results for Hertha. The Dutchman's most notable impact was arguably his goal against Bayer Leverkusen. Early in a match that Die Alte Dame ended up winning 3-0, Zeefuik scored what some may say was a wonder goal, while others may argue that it was a cross. All things considered, the only person who truly knows is the player himself.
Borussia Mönchengladbach - Last week's 2-1 win over Freiburg marked Louis Jordan Beyer's second start of the season, and he looked composed throughout the game at centre-back. His only other appearance this campaign was in the 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig, where he played as a right-back, deputising for Stefan Lainer. Beyer had a good showing on that day as well, coping with the contest against tough opposition. He may play against Hertha if Nico Elvedi misses out again, and if so, expect another solid display from the 20-year-old.
In recent seasons, this matchup has seen a mixture of results, with the standout ones being Gladbach's 5-0 home win in 2016 and Hertha's 3-0 victory at Borussia-Park in 2019.
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the reverse fixture earlier this season finished in a 1-1 draw. Matteo Guendouzi scored the opener just after the break before Breel Embolo equalised for Die Fohlen with 20 minutes to go, meaning that the points would have to be shared on the day.
How to watch
Unfortunately this match won't be aired live in the UK, but those in the United States will be able to see the game on ESPN+.
What have they said?
Hertha Berlin manager Pál Dárdai - "After the Union Berlin game, we analysed our performance in defence and in attack. We've had some honest, productive talks with each other and been over what we did well and what we didn't do so well."
Borussia Mönchengladbach manager Marco Rose - "We've been through a difficult phase, but we've picked up back-to-back wins now. We want to kick on in Berlin - its our job to carry on this run of results."
"Hertha have a great deal of quality in their squad. They have become more solid defensively under Pál Dárdai, and they've got dangerous players in attack."