Hertha BSC: Pal Dardai’s team are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run, the longest in the Bundesliga. The capital club have recovered from their quarantine in fine fashion, picking up eight points from a possible 12. That included the win against Schalke 04 on Wednesday, as Hertha took an important step towards staying in the Bundesliga.
1. FC Köln: FC’s two-game winning run came to an end last weekend against SC Freiburg. After victories against both RB Leipzig and FC Augsburg, a 4:1 defeat meant that the wind was taken out of Friedhelm Funkel’s side’s sails. However, a win against Hertha would give some much-needed momentum heading into the final game of the season against Schalke 04.
Pal Dardai: “A point may be enough for us to stay up, but we always play to win. We’re also on a nice unbeaten run and don’t want to lose again this season. That’s our aim. Köln have quality, you can see that in every game. They are fighting to survive too, so they will come at us and invest a lot. I expect that from my players too.”
Friedhelm Funkel: “We didn't have a good first-half against Freiburg and we made mistakes. We didn’t play wll positionally, we didn't get into running the way we wanted to and the way the team is used to it. We mentioned that and showed it to the team. In the second half we did a lot better, played better going forward. That is the approach we need.”
Hertha BSC: Jhon Cordoba, Matheus Cunha, Matteo Guendouzi, Rune Jarstein, Maximilian Mittelstädt, Luca Netz, Krzysztof Piatek, Vladimir Darida and Dodi Lukebakio will all definitely miss the game. There are doubts over the fitness of Jessic Ngankam and Sami Khedira.
1. FC Köln: Jonas Hector’s participation on Saturday is a doubt after his cut against Freiburg. Otherwise, there are no fitness concerns for Friedhelm Funkel.
Dedryck Boyata has finally returned to the Hertha squad after a stress fracture and muscle problems. The Belgian international featured in each of the last four games since Hertha came out of quarantine, with the capital club going unbeaten in that period. The 30-year-old also grabbed his first goal of the season in the win over Schalke, which all but secured their place in the Bundesliga for next season.
FC have the overall upper hand over Hertha as the teams are set to meet for the 60th time in the Bundesliga. FC have won 25 times to Hertha’s 23, with the remaining 11 ending in draws. Hertha have picked up more victories in the last 10 meetings, however, claiming victory on six occasions. FC will fondly remember their last trip to the Olympiastadion, following the 5:0 win in 2020.
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach).Assistant referee: Christian Dietz, Eduard Beitinger.Fourth official: Florian Heft.Video Assistant Referee: Tobias Welz.
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