bundesliga.com has all the pre-match rumblings from either camp ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Olympiastadion…
Seven points clear at the top, the record titleholders are looking to bounce back from their first UEFA Champions League defeat of the season against Manchester City FC when they take on a Hertha side intent on building upon their victory over Köln in the hopes of moving further clear of the drop zone.
Jos Luhukay confirmed that “only the long-term absentees will definitely miss out” on Saturday, but while the makeshift centre-back pairing of Jens Hegeler and John Anthony Brooks should stay intact, Salomon Kalou (r.) is pushing to replace Julian Schieber up front.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (l.) celebrated his timely and long-awaited comeback in the 4-0 win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last week, but head coach Pep Guardiola is still battling with a lengthy injury list that contains no less than five first-team regulars and a handful of squad players.
Per Skjelbred has raised his game in the absence of captain Fabian Lustenberger. The Norwegian was the only Hertha player to register more than a single shot on goal in Köln, covering plenty of ground (13km) and more of the same will be required against FC Bayern.
Rested in midweek, a refreshed and re-energised Mario Götze poses a daunting prospect for the capital city side. Joint-top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts, the winner of Matchday 12’s Goal of the Week, will be confident of adding to his seven-goal tally at the Olympiastadion.
Jos Luhukay (Hertha coach): "We’re going to throw everything into the mix with great conviction, but we’ll have to see what comes out of it."
Pep Guardiola (Bayern coach): "There's only three weeks before the winter break. We have a game every three days and can't afford to rotate much."
FC Bayern have conceded just three times in 12 league games and will be looking to preserve their unbeaten Bundesliga record in 2014/15. Meanwhile, Hertha are currently struggling for consistency, having picked up four wins and four losses in their last eight outings.
Hertha haven’t picked up a single point in this fixture in their last six attempts, including last season’s 3-1 loss which saw Bayern, who have lost just once in the last 21 meetings between the two, wrap up the Bundesliga title with a record seven games to spare.
Hertha: Kraft - Ndjeng, Hegeler, Brooks, Schulz - Hosogai, Skjelbred - Beerens, Stocker, Ben-Hatira - Kalou
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Dante, Bernat - Alonso - T. Müller, Rode, Götze, Ribery - Lewandowski