Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin are two sides lingering in an enthralling relegation battle.
Three points for either in this fixture is paramount to stave off the continued threat of relegation.
Hertha Berlin are in a perilous state.
Hertha sit just above the relegation play-off zone, with a mixed run of late and teams below them picking up points. Points on the board is key for Hertha, especially at this stage of the season, so a win against the sides basement division would be a huge boost.
The decline of Hoffenheim is evident for everyone, as a once Champions League battling side are in deep trouble, with Der Blau rooted to the foot of the table.
Without a win since October and eight defeats on the spin, the writing is on the wall for Hoffenheim, and the need to find some sort of form to prevent the drop.
Despite players criminally underperforming for Hoffenheim, the injury list is also hindering them.
Stanley Nsoki and Sebastian Rudy are to miss Saturday’s clash with hip injuries, with Justin Che, Kasper Dolberg, Grischa Promel and Jacob Bruun Larsen all expected to miss the fixture against Hertha with their injuries.
Kelian Nsona is yet to play a game in 2023 for Hertha Berlin, so his absence is expected and will continue.
Chidera Ejuke is in a similar situation to Nsona, with him yet to feature in the new year after picking up a serious injury during the World Cup break.
Jean-Paul Boetius suffered a blow during the last Hertha outing, so the visitors are expecting an unchanged eleven.
Baumann; Kabak, Brooks, Akpoguma; Skov, Geiger, Kaderabek; Stiller, Becker; Bebou, Dabbur.
Christensen; Uremovic, Kempf, Dardai; Richter, Cigerci, Plattenhardt; Tousart, Serdar; Ngankam, Niederlechner.
Players To Watch
Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim)
Hoffenheim’s attack this season has been extremely blunt, which also shows their attacking intent has slowed as midfielder Christoph Baumgartner sits as the leading scorer.
A blue since a young age, Baumgartner has been an ever-present in their journey to the Champions League and now, where he’s the leading scorer of a side who are desperately fighting for their Bundesliga status.
With eight goal involvements to his name, Hertha will have to keep tabs of Baumgartner throughout the contest.
Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin)
A man of form this season and of late, Hertha’s Lukebakio will be one for Hoffenheim to watch.
With 10 goals in 23 outings, this is a stark contrast to Lukebakio after previous season, with him very rarely scraping five goals a season, but there isn’t much to criticise about the Belgian.
With three goals in Hertha’s last five games, Hoffenheim and going to have to do a stern job to silence the on-form striker.
Where is the game being played?
The game will take place at the PreZero Arena, Sinsheim.
What time is kick-off?
Kick-off is at 14:30 GMT on Saturday, March 18.
How can I watch?
The game will not be shown live on TV, but you will be able to follow through live commentary and both clubs respective social media pages for updates.
Highlights of the clash will be posted on the Sky Sports YouTube channel but you can follow all the news and views right here on VAVEL.