Hertha Berlin head coach Pal Dardai knows how it feels to beat Bayern Munich and has challenged his side to spring a surprise when they take on the champions at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Dardai has enjoyed a strong start to life as permanent head coach at Hertha, having kept the club in the Bundesliga during his temporary spell last season.
The capital club sit fourth in the Bundesliga table, but face German football’s most fearsome task this weekend as they travel to play Bayern.
Pep Guardiola’s team have dropped just two points this season and have won all seven of their home league matches, scoring 28 goals in the process.
Recent history is also against Hertha, who have lost their last eight games against Bayern – a run that stretches back to February 2009. Their last win over the Bavarians away from home came all the way back in 1977.
But Dardai was part of the Hertha side that won 2-1 against Bayern in the capital six years ago and he believes his side are capable of causing an upset this weekend.
“The players are also eager to make something beautiful,” said the Hungarian.
“It still has not been managed [to beat Bayern] but that’s not to say we aren’t able to.
“This is a chance to do something special. I will not let us get too clever, we will just try to play to our limits. We are prepared and will be travelling there to have fun.”
Guardiola’s side would guarantee top spot at the winter break with a win this weekend – provided Borussia Dortmund fail to beat Stuttgart.
And, fresh from a 4-0 rout of Olympiacos in the Champions League, captain Philipp Lahm has stated his team-mates have more than enough to claim the points even against an improved Hertha side.
“It is surprising, but they have developed very well, they have earned the points,” he said.
“Therefore, they are a dangerous opponent. But we only need to look at us and if we play to our level again, there will be only one winner again – that’s us.
“The eight-point lead we have built up, we definitely want to keep.”
Key Opta stats:
– Bayern are eight points ahead of Dortmund. The gap between the top two has only been larger at this stage of the season on one occasion, when Bayern held a nine-point advantage after 13 games in 2012-13.
– After the 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim, Dardai’s side have won two consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time this season
– Thomas Muller scored his 12th goal of the campaign against Schalke last time out and is now one away from equalling his record for a season (13 goals in 2014-15).
– Salomon Kalou scored his first Bundesliga hat-trick in his last away outing (3-1 in Hannover). Alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he is the most prolific striker on the road in the league with six each.
– Kalou averages a goal every 73 minutes away from home while Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski averages a Bundesliga goal every 53 minutes at the Allianz Arena.