Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 1
The 2019/20 season in the Bundesliga is set to be completed soon, despite the long forced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic and every other difficulty it brought along in its wake. Round 31 is up next, and as a part of it, Hertha will play host to Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olimpiastadion in Berlin on Saturday afternoon.
It’s certainly a crucial moment of the campaign when Hertha and their hopes of making it into next season’s Europa League are concerned. At the moment, Bruno Labbadia’s side sit in ninth place, with 38 points in the bag, seven less than sixth-place Wolfsburg. Hoffenheim and Freiburg are also ahead of them with 43 and 41 points, respectively. They must also keep an eye on Schalke, who are just below, also on 38. But with Hoffenheim playing RB Leipzig on Friday evening while Wolfsburg and Freiburg play each other on Saturday, this is a great opportunity for Hertha to grab something tangible from this round for themselves. However, with only 12 points left to play for, they must make it count or their chances for a top-six finish will become practically non-existent.
Though they suffered their first defeat under Labbadia at the hands of Borussia Dortmund last time around, it was the only loss the team from the German capital picked up in their last six outings in the top flight, winning three times and drawing twice before the Dortmund trip. So overall, it can be said they are on good form at the moment.
Matheus Cunha and Salomon Kalou are out of contention for this match. The 21-year-old winger is injured, while the 34-year-old ex-Chelsea man is being left out for breaking the lockdown rules.
Eintracht, on the other hand, still aren’t quite safe from relegation with 35 points in 11th place, though the seven-point gap between them and 16th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf should prove big enough, especially given that Fortuna play host to Dortmund in this round. Quite apart from the gap in points, there’s also a four-team cushion squeezed in there, consisting namely of FC Koln, Augsburg, Union Berlin and Mainz 05.
Unlike that of Hertha, Eintracht’s recent league form can only be described as patchy. From their last six matches in the division, they won once, drew twice and lost three times. It should also be noted that they were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal in the semifinal as they lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Danny da Costa came on from the bench to cancel out Ivan Perisic’s opener, but in the end it was Robert Lewandowski who proved the difference-maker for the Bavarians once more.
Head coach Adi Hutter should have the full squad at his disposal and it is expected he would want to make a few changes from the Bayern game. Winger Filip Kostic missed out that time with a suspension carried over from the quarterfinals, but he is now back.
All things considered, it seems this match will be more important for the home side than for the visitors. Eintracht will certainly wish to end all speculation about the relegation battle as soon as possible, but Hertha simply must win this game to keep their feeble hopes of playing European football next season alive.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 1
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