Hamburg - Points are an absolute must for floundering Hamburger SV and Hertha Berlin at the Imtech Arena on Friday (kick-off 20:30 CET/ 19:30 GMT).

Neither side have had much luck of late, with both clubs fighting just to keep their heads above water with only nine games left to play this season.

bundesliga.com previews Matchday 26's opening fixture...

Securing top-flight status for another year is all the matters to Hamburg and Hertha ahead of Friday's relegation tussle. HSV sit just two points clear of third-bottom SC Paderborn and could be dragged back into the relegation zone depending on results elsewhere if they fail to get a result against a Hertha side only a point better off in 14th.

Former Germany international Rene Adler is set to make his first start since the Matchday 2 defeat to Paderborn after Jaroslav Drobny's sending off last weekend. could come in for suspended midfielder Petr Jiracek, while Pierre-Michel Lasogga has a "good chance of featuring".

Pal Dardai may be tempted to hand only his seventh start of the season after the Japanese forward netted from the bench in last weekend's 2-2 draw with FC Schalke 04. Änis Ben-Hatira opened the scoring in that one and is expected to keep his place in attack.

will de desperate to make the most of what's left of his loan spell from Tottenham Hotspur FC after broken collarbone surgery forced him to miss the first seven games of the Rückrunde. He managed ten second-half minutes last weekend and could have a telling say should he start.

Ivorian international is enjoying a new lease of life under Dardai, starting all but one of Hertha's five games since the Hungarian took over from Jos Luhukay on 5 February. The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winner has only scored once in that time, but his experience could prove priceless during the run-in.

(Hamburg defender, formerly of Hertha): "We're in a difficult situation and we still have lots of work to do. Hertha have played well in their last three games. They'll come here looking to keep a clean sheet and play on the counter [...] I'm not going to be a good host, I promise you that."

Pal Dardai (Hertha head coach): "I'm expecting a feisty game, but we're physically and mentally ready for it. We're still in a tricky situation. It'll be tough and it's going to demand a lot of us, but obviously I want to win in Hamburg."

Hamburg suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 25. They've only won twice in their last ten outings, with both victories coming against fellow strugglers Paderborn and Hannover 96, while Hertha head north unbeaten in their last three (W1, D2).

Ben-Hatira scored twice as Hertha enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 success earlier in the season. The Old Lady won by the same scoreline at the Imtech Arena last term and are currently enjoying a three-match winning run against the Bundesliga's only ever-present club.

Possible line-ups:

Hamburg: Adler - Diekmeier, Djourou, Cleber, Ostrzolek - Behrami, van der Vaart - N. Müller, Stieber - Lasogga, Olic

Hertha: Kraft - Pekarik, S. Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Skjelbred, Lustenberger - Beerens, Stocker, Ben-Hatira - Kalou

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