Sunday's tussle in the capital is certainly not one for the faint-hearted, as bundesliga.com finds out...
With just five points between them, Hertha Berlin and last summer's promotees Paderborn are both still in acute relegation danger with this encounter an opportunity for both clubs to boost their own survival hopes while denting those of an immediate rival at the same time.
Änis Ben-Hatira is absent for the Old Lady due to injury, leaving a vacancy in attacking midfield which could be filled by either (l.) or Nico Schulz. Per Skjelbred is a minor doubt, but the Norwegian midfielder should be fit to play after shaking off a thigh strain.
Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter has a fully-fit squad to choose from, giving the former Hamburger SV player plenty of options should he choose to make changes. One of those is midfielder , who could return to the starting XI on Sunday having enjoyed little playing time lately.
is not only the Berliners' captain, but the Swiss also plays a key role for Pal Dardai's side in defensive midfield, holding everything together while allowing the more creative players around him to flourish. Hertha have lost three of the four games he was forced to miss this season.
At a time like this, what Paderborn need more than anything is goals, and winter recruit has already shown he can provide them. His experience, also in relegation battles, makes the former 1. FC Kaiserslautern striker more than just a targetman for the East Westphalians.
(Hertha defender): "We don't think we're favourites. Of course we're five points clear of Paderborn and want to increase that gap over a direct rival and also over the relegation places. We've got eight difficult games to come, though, and we can't underestimate any of them."
Breitenreiter (head coach): "Success leads to the expectation levels raising, even though internally we don't share that as we always had a more realistic view of things. We knew there would be difficult phases, but for it to go on as long as it has is not what we wanted, and it's something we're working on bringing to an end."
Hertha have gained a bit of breathing space courtesy of a , including two wins. Paderborn, on the other hand, have not won in five, losing four and drawing against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last time out, slumping into the bottom two as a result.
This is only the second meeting between the two clubs at this level following Paderborn's 3-1 home win on Matchday 10. They clashed on four previous occasions in Bundesliga 2 before that, though, with Hertha recording two wins from four (D1, L1).
Hertha Berlin: Kraft - Pekarik, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Skjelbred, Lustenberger - Beerens, Stocker, Haraguchi - Kalou
Paderborn: Kruse - Heinloth, Rafa Lopez, Hünemeier, Brückner - Ziegler - Koc, Rupp, Vrancic, Meha - Lakic