MX23RW : Saturday, April 17 23:15:32| >> :600:117702:117702:
Feb 27, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
WolfsburgWolfsburg
2-0
Hertha BerlinHertha Berlin
Klunter (38' og.), Lacroix (89')
Otavio (45'), Mbabu (47'), Pongracic (48'), Bialek (90+5')
Pongracic (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

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

Wolfsburg entertain Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors in desperate need of a positive result to move clear of the relegation zone.

The hosts, meanwhile, have a healthy five-point cushion within the Champions League qualification positions in the table, and are now only seven points behind league leaders Bayern Munich.


Match preview

Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner pictured on February 14, 2021© Reuters

Indeed, the Wolves extended their unbeaten domestic run to nine matches with a comfortable 3-0 win at Arminia Bielefeld last Saturday, which ironically ensured Hertha remained outside of the bottom three for another weekend.

Yannick Gerhardt has been in serious creative spirit of late, and he continued that in Bielefeld by powering down the right flank before putting a peach of a cross across the box for Renato Steffen to break the deadlock in the 29th minute. Oliver Glasner's side were a little fortunate to remain ahead at the half-time interval, though, with Michel Vlap scuffing the ball wide from an excellent goalscoring opportunity.

Perhaps that missed opportunity helped re-focus Wolfsburg after the break, with Arminia restricted to very few opportunities. They were not helped by their goalkeeper Stefan Ortega parrying what should have been a routine save from Wout Weghorst straight into the path of Steffen, who helped himself to a brace, before Maximilian Arnold wrapped up the three points with a powerful effort from distance.

Glasner will be hopeful that his side can further cement their top-four status - as well as keep their slim title hopes alive - with a similarly routine win against another bottom-half side in the shape of Hertha on Saturday, with an eighth consecutive clean sheet firmly in their sights.

Hertha Berlin head coach Pal Dardai on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Indeed, Hertha were perhaps a victim of timing when coming up against RB Leipzig last Sunday, with Julian Nagelsmann's side clearly sensing an opportunity to close the gap on Bayern after the Bavarians' defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on the previous day.

Moreover, Leipzig had been stung by a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League earlier in the week, with Marcel Sabitzer and Nordi Mukiele both making a schoolboy error each in the build-up to Liverpool's goals.

Ironically, both players were on the scoresheet during their side's 3-0 victory against Hertha, with Sabitzer breaking the deadlock in the 28th minute with a goal of the season contender. The Austrian midfielder picked up the loose ball over 30 metres from goal, sending a powerful, dipping strike up into the air like a missile, before it landed in the top-right corner.

After Matheus Cunha missed Hertha's best chance of the game by tamely striking straight at Peter Gulacsi after the break, a thumping effort from substitute Mukiele and a Willi Orban header saw Hertha fall to yet another defeat. However, there is little doubt that they are playing better under Pal Dardai, with improved results surely around the corner if that continues to be the case.

Wolfsburg Bundesliga form: WWWWDW
Wolfsburg form (all competitions): WWWWDW

Hertha Berlin Bundesliga form: LLLLDL


Team News

Wolfsburg's John Brooks pictured in March 2019© Reuters

Wolfsburg will be without the suspended John Brooks after the defender picked up his fifth caution of the season against Arminia, with Marin Pongracic likely to take his place alongside Maxence Lacroix.

Otherwise, though, Glasner is likely to continue with the same XI which has performed so well in recent weeks.

Hertha, meanwhile, could travel without Dedryck Boyata, Javairo Dilrosun, Jordan Torunarigha and Marvin Plattenhardt due to injury.

Jhon Cordoba is fit again after recovering from an ankle injury sustained in December, but may have to gain match fitness from the bench.

Wolfsburg possible starting lineup:
Casteels; Mbabu, Lacroix, Pongracic, Otavio; Arnold, Schlager; Baku, Gerhardt, Steffen; Weghorst

Hertha Berlin possible starting lineup:
Jarstein; Pekarik, Stark, Alderete, Mittelstadt; Tousart, Khedira, Guendouzi; Lukebakio, Piatek, Cunha


SM words green background

We say: Wolfsburg 2-0 Hertha Berlin

Given Wolfsburg's astonishing defensive record of late, it is difficult to envisage Hertha laying a glove on their opponents on Saturday.

The likes of Weghorst and Steffen are in such good form at the other end that Glasner's side look very good value for a top-four finish this season.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern29215383384568
2RB Leipzig29187452232961
3Wolfsburg29159551292254
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt291411459441553
5Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen29138848321647
6Borussia DortmundDortmund281441058411746
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach29111085243943
8Union BerlinUnion Berlin29101364435943
9Freiburg30127114842643
10Stuttgart29109105146539
11Augsburg3097142942-1334
12Hoffenheim2988134147-632
13Werder Bremen2879123243-1130
14Mainz 052877143048-1828
15Arminia Bielefeld3077162246-2428
16Hertha Berlin2868143448-1426
17FC Koln2958162753-2623
18Schalke 04Schalke3027211879-6113

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