Hertha BSC will do battle with Schalke to kick off match day 26 at the Olympiastadion. A point separate's the two sides for the final automatic Champions League spot in what could be a big match. The hosts sit in third on 42 points while their opponent's have accrued 41. Considering how far the top two sides are, this is what they are fighting for for the rest of the campaign.
Pal Dardai's men have not had as great of a 2016 as they would have hoped. They have drawn and lost more than won and should be further ahead in the standings. This calendar year has not been kind to Hertha. To date, their record is not good, playing in eight league matches drawing four and losing two.
Goals have also been hard to come by as of late. Yes, they can still find the back of the net from time to time. But when Hertha drops points, it is because of the inability to get decent looks at target. Take their most recent loss against Hamburg for example. The visitors on the night had only four shots on target with two going wide. Meanwhile, the opposition had a whopping 11 shots test Rune Jarstein with two of them going past him.
Schalke, meanwhile, have been trending in the right direction. Their last two matches have been victories. The first came against Hamburg when they won 3-2 at the Veltins-Arena. Schalke defeated a good Koln side thanks to a second minute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar penalty. These six points gathered have moved them into a Champions League spot.
The Royal Blues dominated the last match obtaining close to 60% of the possession. They hardly gave Koln more than two touches on the ball before it got turned back over. Schalke also peppered the opponent's goal with seven shots on target. Four of those also attempts found the back of the net.
Leroy Sane has been a revelation this season. He has electrified Schalke's play and is one of the brightest stars in Europe. Sane has only found the back of the net five times in 24 matches played but that is not his forte. The Essen-born wide man uses his speed to blow by defenders and open up tons of space in behind. He will then use his ever growing vision to try to set up one of his teammates inside of the area.
Salomon Kalou cannot get enough praise. He is 30 years old but is playing some of his best football. In 22 league matches thus far this season, he has found the back of the net 12 times. His career record is 16 goals in one season and is well on his way to break that. Kalou will have to be at his best if Hertha are to come away with the three points.
The visitors are playing sublime football at the moment. They are re-energized and look like a team on a mission and will win all three points. Hertha will be a tough opposition though and will fight until the last whistle.