Berlin – the late comeback against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim felt like a win for most Hertha fans. “It could be a turning point for our season,” said Salomon Kalou, hoping for more after the three goals last weekend. Hertha’s next opportunity to recreate the joy felt last time out is in Hannover tomorrow. The stats read well for Hertha, who have lost just one of their last six in this fixture.
The stats: The sides have met 42 times in the Bundesliga, with the Old Lady enjoying more success. Hertha have won 17, drawn 14 and lost 11 of the games. They’re also up 64:54 on goal difference. Head coach Pál Dárdai is feeling good ahead of the game: “The past two weeks have gone well, so I’m optimistic going to Hannover.” However, the past six games have been close affairs. There have been two draws, and two victories for each side. Hertha will not look back on the last meeting with fond memories. They lost the game 3-1 having been 3-0 down at half time.
Positive memories: Salomon Kalou might be looking forward to the game more than most. The Ivorian striker has six goals in six games against Hannover – his personal best against any club. In 2015, he scored a hat-trick and is the second-most prolific goalscorer in the fixture after Ete Beer (eight goals). Speaking ahead of the game, Kalou said: “We have to be focussed, because Hannover need points too. It’ll be difficult.” Vedad Ibišević will also want to add to his tally against Hannover. The captain scored against Hoffenheim last time out and is now the first player to score at least 33 goals for three Bundesliga sides.
Squad news: Like in the 3-3 against Hoffenheim, Pál Dárdai will be without several defenders for this weekend’s game. Niklas Stark and Lukas Klünter are out until after Christmas. Meanwhile, Karim Rekik is still not fit after starting to train individually during the week. Flo Baak is back training with the rest of the team, meaning “we have another body available in central defence,” said Dárdai. Maximilian Mittelstädt is available after his suspension, but Vladmir Darida is still out injured. In attack, Javairô Dilrosun is out until after Christmas, while Mathew Leckie could return after an infection. Julius Kade and Marius Gersbeck are Hertha’s only long-term absentees.
Match officials: Dr. Felix Brych will take charge of things on Saturday, his 255th Bundesliga game and his second between Hertha and Hannover. The Old Lady won this game 3-0 in 2008. Brych is assisted by Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp running the lines, and Guido Winkmann is the fourth official. The video assistants will be Günter Perl and Patrick Alt.