Hamburger SV vs Hertha Berlin predictions: Capital visitors look up against it
Hertha Berlin manager Felix Magath will always have a place in Hamburg’s history after his goal won the club the 1983 European Cup final.
But his men have plenty to do as they travel north looking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in their Bundesliga play-off.
Ludovit Reis’s 57th-minute goal was enough to win Thursday’s match for the team who finished third in 2.Bundesliga this season and Tim Walter's side should be brimming with confidence after winning their last five matches.
However, the lead is far from insurmountable and there will still be plenty to play for at the Volksparkstadion, which has not hosted top-flight football since 2018.
After gaining the advantage, it would be a surprise if Walter makes any changes and his options are limited by the fact Anssi Suhonen and Tim Leibold are both ruled out with long-term injuries.
Magath, however, might be tempted to shuffle the pack.
The experienced Kevin-Prince Boateng was an unused substitute in the first leg and it would not be a shock if the former Ghana midfielder was thrown into the action.
Ex-Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic could also get a start after he was introduced as a half-time substitute in the first game.
It looks as if Hamburg have hit form at just the right time as they have scored 14 goals in their last five matches, all of which have ended in victory.
It is also worth noting that there have been at least three goals in each of their last seven matches at the Volksparkstadion, of which they have won five.
Hertha, who fell into the relegation play-off spot on the final day of the Bundesliga season, have posted just one win in their last 12 away matches, although they have scored in each of their last four games on the road.
Hamburg have fallen to just two home defeats in 2 Bundesliga this season and with such a huge prize at stake, their followers will be confident that they can finally take their place back among German football’s elite.
The problem for Hertha Berlin could prove to be in defence as they have conceded at least twice in nine of their last 12 away games and any repeat of that nature would give them only a very slim chance of maintaining their top-flight status.
Only the hapless Greuther Furth conceded more than Hertha’s tally of 71 during the regular season and it would be easy to conclude that they look up against it.
While midfielder Reis scored the crucial goal to give Hamburg their advantage, it is worth keeping an eye out for their former Cardiff City striker Robert Glatzel.
He has had an excellent season with 22 goals, which made him the second-highest goalscorer in the second tier of German football, and his confidence should be high as he has scored in each of his last four matches at his home ground.