Mats Hummels believes European qualification is still in Borussia Dortmund’s hands ahead of Saturday’s clash with Hertha Berlin.
Dortmund beat Bayern Munich on penalties to reach the final of the DFB-Pokal last week, but could not back that up with a win at Hoffenheim last weekend as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Defender Hummels scored a 35th-minute equaliser, but a winner was not forthcoming so Jurgen Klopp’s side missed a chance to go seventh.
Currently ninth with just three matches remaining, Dortmund need to finish fifth or sixth to book a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League if they fail to win the DFB-Pokal final against Wolfsburg.
Hoffenheim, Werder Bremen, Augsburg and Schalke are also vying for a top-six finish, with Champions League qualification well and truly beyond them.
Qualifying for any form of continental football would be an excellent outcome given Dortmund’s dreadful start to the season which saw them at the foot of the table.
And having already won the German Super Cup – and now in the DFB-Pokal showpiece – Klopp’s men can at least finish the coach’s tenure on a high note.
Looking ahead to the Hertha clash, Hummels told Dortmund’s official website: “Unfortunately, we’ve missed the chance to set ourselves up with a better starting position in the table for the last few weeks.
“I hope we won’t be missing those points at the end. But I’m convinced that it’s still in our own hands.”
Following Saturday’s match, Dortmund have league clashes against Wolfsburg, who sit second, and Werder Bremen. But, for now, all their attention will be on stopping a Berlin side who are winless in four.
A tough end to the season has them lose to champions Bayern and third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, in successive weeks. They have slipped to 13th in the table and will be desperate for a result that could secure their safety.
Hertha are only four points above the relegation zone and still have to play Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim.
Hertha have done well against Dortmund in recent years, though, winning three of the last five clashes. That includes a 1-0 triumph in December, which came thanks to Julian Schieber’s first-half strike. Schieber is Hertha’s top scorer with seven goals this season.
The capital club have won 2-1 on their last two visits to Signal-Iduna Park and will face a Dortmund side who will be without Adrian Ramos (ankle) and Jakub Blaszczykowski (adductor).
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