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Preview: Hertha Berlin vs. FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Hertha Berlin and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Hertha Berlin take on FC Koln in a crucial relegation battle in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors in desperate need of a positive result.

The home team, meanwhile, can secure their safety with a victory.


Match preview

Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai before the match on May 9, 2021© Reuters

Having been unable to play for more than three weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club last month, Hertha have really hit the ground running upon their return to Bundesliga action in the past two weeks.

Pal Dardai's side have taken eight points from four matches while extending their unbeaten run to seven games, moving three points clear of the relegation zone in the process.

Hertha were made to work for a 2-1 victory away to already relegated Schalke 04 on Wednesday, though, with Dedryck Boyata and Jessic Ngankam securing a vital victory after Armine Harit had provided the hosts with a sixth-minute lead.

Should they continue their unbeaten run against Koln on Saturday, Hertha will be assured of finishing outside of the automatic relegation places. However, a victory would guarantee avoiding relegation altogether due to the fact that Werder Bremen and Augsburg face each other this weekend and therefore they cannot both reach 37 points.

FC Koln players celebrate scoring against Union Berlin on November 22, 2020© Reuters

After winning their previous two matches, Koln's hopes of surviving suffered a huge blow with a 4-1 defeat at home to Freiburg last weekend.

Friedhelm Funkel's side shot themselves in the foot with a sloppy piece of play in their own penalty area, allowing Nils Petersen to open the scoring for the visitors, who put together a fine counter-attacking move to double their first-half lead via Ermedin Demirovic's close range finish.

Sebastian Andersson's superb volley dragged Koln back into the game four minutes after the break, but they were unable to find the equaliser which they required, with Vincenzo Grifo and Jonathan Schmid ruthlessly exposing the hosts' increasing gaps in defence by adding two goals in injury time.

Should Koln fail to beat Hertha on Saturday, they would be relegated if Bremen beat Augsburg and Arminia Bielefeld defeat Hoffenheim.

However, Funkel's side do have the saving grace of facing Schalke at home on the final day, so if they can hang in there until then, they will have a decent chance of pulling off a great escape should other results go in their favour.

Hertha Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

FC Koln Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L



Team News

Matteo Guendouzi in action for Hertha Berlin on January 30, 2021© Reuters

Hertha's congested schedule following their COVID-19 outbreak appears to have taken its toll on their squad depth, with Dardai likely to be without a whole host of players for their crucial relegation battle on Saturday.

Dodi Lukebakio is suspended after his dismissal against Schalke, while Vladimir Darida picked up his fifth yellow card of the season and will also miss out, with Santiago Ascacibar likely to replace him in midfield.

Krzysztof Piatek was forced off prior to the hour mark with a knock and is unlikely to recover in time, while Jhon Cordoba and Matheus Cunha's ankle injuries further reduce Dardai's attacking options, so Ngankam should start after scoring the winner in midweek.

Marton Dardai, Maximilian Mittelstadt, Sami Khedira, Matteo Guendouzi, Rune Jarstein and Luca Netz have all been ruled out, too, with the likes of Niklas Stark, Jordan Torunarigha and Deyovaisio Zeefuik potentially coming back into the defence as manager Dardai continues his sensible squad rotation policy.

Koln, meanwhile, appear to only be without Jannes Horn and Marco Hoger due to groin injuries, so Funkel certainly has one up on his counterpart in terms of squad availability.

Noah Katterbach should replace Horn at left-back, with the likes of Ismail Jakobs, Max Meyer, Elvis Rexhbecaj and Jan Thielmann all hoping for a start after the disappointing defeat to Freiburg.

Hertha Berlin possible starting lineup:
Schwolow; Zeefuik, Boyata, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt; Ascacibar, Stark, Tousart; Dilrosun, Ngankam, Radonjic

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Horn; Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach; Jakobs, Duda, Skhiri, Hector, Kainz; Andersson


SM words green background

We say: Hertha Berlin 1-1 FC Koln

Koln have been stronger away from home this season, so we can envisage them gaining a positive result against a Hertha outfit whose injuries and congested schedule are likely to take its toll.

However, Dardai has made them much tougher to beat since his appointment in February, with a draw on Saturday representing a good result for Hertha.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Hertha Berlin vs FC Koln

Hertha Berlin
61.4%
Draw
29.5%
FC Koln
9.1%
44
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Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai pictured on April 10, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
4Wolfsburg341710761372461
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
9Stuttgart34129135655145
10Freiburg34129135252045
11Hoffenheim341110135254-243
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
13Augsburg34106183654-1836
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116

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