Bayern Munich will be looking to tighten their grip on top spot in the Bundesliga when they travel to face Hertha Berlin on Friday (7pm kick-off UK time).
The defending champions are on course to win a ninth-consecutive Bundesliga title, currently seven points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig with 15 games left to play.
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Where to watch Hertha vs Bayern on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Hertha 0-3 Bayern
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Hertha vs Bayern build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
While Union Berlin have earned praise this season their neighbours, the more established Bundesliga side, are currently fighting for their top-flight lives. Hertha Berlin are down in 15th in the Bundesliga, only above the relegation play-off spot on goal difference, winning just four of their opening 19 games so far (only bottom two Mainz and Schalke and won fewer this season).
Their poor campaign saw Bruno Labbadia sacked at the end of January and replaced by Pal Dardai, who previously managed Hertha for four years between 2015 and 2019, leading them as far as the Europa League group stage. However, the Hungarian has had a tough start to his second spell in the capital, losing his opening match 3-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of this Friday’s meeting with giants Bayern.
Hansi Flick’s side have by no means been perfect in the Bundesliga this season, but they have rebounded from setbacks in emphatic fashion. A loss to Hoffenheim in the second matchday of the weekend was followed by five straight wins in the Bundesliga, and it has been a similar pattern after defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach. Since that 3-2 loss at the start of January, Bayern have won their past four Bundesliga matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding just twice.
It has helped them move seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, a healthy lead they will look to extend before taking a short spell away from German football. Following Friday’s game against Hertha, Bayern will then turn their attention to the Club World Cup, facing either Al-Duhail or Al Ahly in the semi-finals on February 8, with the final/third-place play-off three days later. By the time they kick off again in the Bundesliga on Monday 15 February, Bayern could see their lead at the top cut as short as one point (if they lose to Hertha), so it’s imperative they leave for Qatar with a win.
- Hertha (vs Eintracht Frankfurt): Jarstein; Klunter, Stark, Torunarigha, Netz; Ascacibar, Tousart; Lukebakio, Guendouzi, Cunha; Piatek.
- Bayern (vs Hoffenheim): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Roca, Kimmich; Gnabry, Muller, Coman; Lewandowksi.
Hertha must continue without captain Dedryck Boyata, who is still missing with a foot injury, and is joined on the sidelines by Jhon Cordoba, Javairo Dilrosun and Marvin Plattenhardt.
Bayern, meanwhile, remain without Leon Goretzka, Javi Martinez, Tanguy Nianzou and Alexander Nubel.
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Players to watch:
- Hertha: When a new manager comes into a club, it’s not unusual to see them make changes in their first starting XI. But one that might have caught some off-guard was the moving of Matteo Guendouzi into a more advanced roles. Those who watched Guendouzi at Arsenal and in the first half of this season under Labaddia will know him as a defensive midfielder, designed to stop play primarily but also be the middle man between defence and the rest of the team. However, Dardai saw something else in Guendouzi and decided to put his abilities to use further up the pitch. Although 85 minutes in an attacking midfield role is too small a sample size to make any real judgments on the impact Guendouzi can have, the Frenchman wasn’t bad, creating one chance and completing two take-ons (both better returns per 90 minutes than he managed when further back). Could he be the key to unlocking Bayern’s defence?
- Bayern: When Hertha have an experimental attacking midfielder, Bayern have an established one and, arguably, the best in the world right now. Thomas Muller isn’t your average attacking midfielder, with his style so unique that it brought a new role name: the Raumdeuter (space interpreter/investigator), coined by the man himself in 2011. Having focused on setting up teammates for the past few seasons, Muller has once again found a happy balance between goalscoring and assisting. In 19 Bundesliga matches so far this season, Muller has scored 10 goals and recorded nine assists, with only Robert Lewandowski (30) directly involved in more goals than the German. Muller hasn’t recorded 10+ goals and assists in a single Bundesliga campaign since 2014/15, which was the last of three consecutive seasons achieving the feat, and there would be no better game for the German to hit 10 assists than his 565th competitive appearance for Bayern – moving him level with Gerd Muller.
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- Hertha: LLLDL
- Bayern: WWWWL
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