bundesliga.com has the pre-match skinny from both camps...
The riveting 4-3 midweek win against European Champions Real Madrid CF highlighted that Schalke belong at Europe's top table. However, to return for a fourth season running, Roberto Di Matteo's fifth-placed side need to keep up the pace. For Hertha, two places above the relegation zone, three points would go a long way to easing the tension around the Olympiastadion.
Pal Dardai's personnel problems have eased somewhat in recent weeks. Although Nico Schulz is suspended, Per Skjelbred is set to return, while first-choice custodian Thomas Kraft has recovered from concussion suffered during last week's 0-0 draw in Stuttgart. John Anthony Brooks (r.) is, however, doubtful with a hip injury.
The team testing out the new pitch at the Olympic Stadium pic.twitter.com/XJLhQa0ZNd— Hertha English (@HerthaBSC_EN) March 12, 2015
The Royal Blues are likely to make changes to the line-up which sent shockwaves across Europe. Top-scorer Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting could miss out after picking up a calf injury in Madrid, while Marco Höger and Tranquillo Barnetta are expected to make way for Berlin-born Kevin-Prince Boateng (l.) and Atsuto Uchida.
Enjoying life under Pal Dardai, Salomon Kalou ended his goal drought against FC Augsburg at the Olympiastadion on Matchday 23. While die alte Dame have been much improved defensively in recent outings, in Julian Schieber's absence, it is the Ivorian international on whom the onus falls to find the net and ensure survival.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar ended his 2015 goalscoring dry spell on Tuesday night in fine style. The Dutchman netted twice, underlining once again his near-unrivalled predatory qualities. After an up-and-down Rückrunde, the 31-year-old will be eager to score and help his side take the next step towards a return to the elite.
Pal Dardai (caretaker coach): "All the players are very motivated. At the moment, I'm really pleased with their attitude. We're still alive, which is great! It's something we can build on. We've been working on our defensive stability for five-and-a-half weeks and now we're focusing on possession. We want to improve going forwards."
Roberto Di Matteo (head coach): "We're going to have to go right to the limit again in Berlin. Hertha need every point in the relegation battle. They will give us a lot less space than Real. It'll be a tense game, and one we absolutely want to win. We haven't been that good away from home this season, so there's room for improvement."
Although Schalke are riding high after back-to-back wins, die Knappen have struggled away from home under Di Matteo, whose last top-flight success on the road came in mid-December. Recent form has also shown tentative signs of revival at Hertha revival, who have four points and two clean sheets from the last two.
Schalke, who beat the capital-city outfit 2-0 in Di Matteo's first game in charge on Matchday 8, have the historical upper hand. The Gelsenkirchen side are unbeaten in 12 against Hertha and have won the last seven of those. Indeed, S04 captain Benedikt Höwedes (l.) has never lost to Saturday's opponents in nine encounters.
Hertha Berlin: Kraft - Pekarik, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger, Skjelbred - Beerens, Stocker, Ben-Hatira - Kalou
FC Schalke 04: Wellenreuther - Höwedes, Matip, Nastasic - Uchida, Fuchs - Neustädter, Boateng, M. Meyer - Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar