Bayern Munich prepare for home Bundesliga clash against Hertha Berlin

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 21: Players of FC Bayern Muenchen warm up during a training session at the club's Saebener Strasse training ground on February 21, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern )
MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 21: Players of FC Bayern Muenchen warm up during a training session at the club's Saebener Strasse training ground on February 21, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern ) /

Coming off a tough draw against Liverpool midweek, Bayern Munich host Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena in a must-win Bundesliga game on Saturday.

A tough ten-day spell comes to an end for Bayern Munich on Saturday when they host Hertha Berlin in Bundesliga play. The Bavarians delivered an impressive performance against Liverpool midweek, coming home with a crucial clean sheet. Die Roten need to cap this week off with a victory on Saturday to put pressure on league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who have fallen off in recent weeks.

Bayern had to fight hard for a win in last weekend’s Bavarian derby. This match turned out to be an important one in Bayern’s quest to defend their Bundesliga title, as Dortmund dropped points against bottom-of-the-table Nurnberg. The Bavarians can temporarily go level on points with their arch rivals if they are able to win against Hertha on Saturday.

Hertha Berlin, meanwhile, are in the middle of a strange season. They have delivered some very good performances in the league but have struggled to maintain consistency. The visitors can still finish in the European places if they can string together a good run of victories from now till the end of the season. Hertha have given Bayern a tough time this season, and Saturday is not going to be any different.

Team News

Bayern Munich will welcome Leon Goretzka back in the squad for the game against Hertha Berlin after he sat out of the game against Liverpool on Tuesday due to an ankle injury. Jerome Boateng has also recovered from the stomach flu and resumed first-team training this week.

Mats Hummels is set to miss the game on Saturday, though, due to illness. The German defender didn’t train with the squad on Thursday and Friday. Arjen Robben has once again started training on the pitch, as he continues to recover from a recurring thigh injury. Corentin Tolisso is also getting closer to complete fitness, but this game will come too soon for the Frenchman.

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Predicted XI

Niko Kovac will surely make some changes to the starting XI after a draining midweek game. Manuel Neuer, nevertheless, will keep his place in the starting squad. Jerome Boateng will get his first start of 2019, replacing Mats Hummels in the lineup and partnering Niklas Sule in the heart of defense. Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba will slot in their respective full-back positions.

Javi Martinez was the best player for Bayern against Liverpool, so I think Kovac will reward him with a start on Saturday. Thiago Alcantara continues to impress under Kovac after a decent performance in the midweek game, and he is likely to partner his fellow countryman in the middle of the park.

James Rodriguez was pretty disappointing against Liverpool. The Colombian is likely to be replaced by Leon Goretzka in the starting lineup against Hertha Berlin. The German midfielder will slot in the number ten position and is likely to be flanked by Franck Ribery and Serge Gnabry. Robert Lewandowski, as usual, will lead the line for Die Roten.


Opposition Focus

Hertha Berlin have troubled Bayern this season. They clinched a convincing 2-0 win at the start of the season in the Bundesliga and fought hard in a narrow 3-2 defeat in the DFB Pokal a few weeks ago. The visitors will be confident they can snag a positive result at the Allianz Arena. Bayern will have to play a bit deeper in this game as Hertha are devastating on the counter-attack.

Vedad Ibisevic will be a huge miss for the visitors, but the likes of Salamon Kalou and Davie Selke have the qualities to fill this void. Ondrej Duda is the most important player for Hertha in attack, though. The Slovakian primarily plays in the number ten role and has a knack of scoring goals. He is the top scorer for Hertha in the Bundesliga this season with ten goals to his name.

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Bayern Munich 2-0 Hertha Berlin

There has been a mini-resurgence for Bayern in the past few weeks, as they are slowly nearing the top of the Bundesliga table. I think they will extend their winning run this weekend against Hertha Berlin by delivering a professional performance against a tricky opposition.