Hertha Berlin stand in the way of Borussia Dortmund and a possible berth in the Europa League next season
Hertha Berlin stand in the way of Borussia Dortmund and a possible berth in the Europa League next season

BVB resume European challenge; Hannover eye first win of 2015

Cologne - DFB Cup finalists Borussia Dortmund will be hoping to close the gap on the European places with victory over Hertha Berlin at the Signal Iduna Park on Matchday 32.

Borussia Dortmund - Hertha Berlin

Elsewhere, Hannover 96 go in search of their first league win of 2015 at home to SV Werder Bremen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim travel to Eintracht Frankfurt looking to boost their own European ambitions.

bundesliga.com previews the Saturday afternoon action...

Borussia Dortmund welcome Hertha Berlin to the Signal Iduna Park for Jürgen Klopp’s penultimate home match in charge of die Schwarz-Gelben, whose European ambitions hang in the balance going into Matchday 32. BVB have won both their last two league games on home soil, but Klopp is wary of the threat posed by a Berlin side revitalised since the appointment of Pal Dardai as head coach.

“People can’t expect us to go 3-0 up in the first few minutes and stroll to an easy win,” said Klopp, who will once again be without the injured for the visit of the Old Lady. “We’re within touching distance [of the UEFA Europa League places], but we’ll only remain in touching distance if we get the three points on Saturday.”

‘Every game is difficult’

Hertha, meanwhile, are still not completely safe from the threat of relegation, but victory at the on Saturday would be a huge boost to their survival hopes. However, Dardai knows his side must raise their game to stand any chance securing successive away wins over the North Rhine-Westphalia giants.

“We’ve been suffering from mental fatigue in recent games,” explained the Hungarian. “I have to find a way to solve that as we need to be mentally fresh. Our playing style requires a lot of energy – both physically and mentally – as we’re often under a lot of pressure from our opponents. Of course Dortmund is a difficult fixture, but every game is difficult.”

Hannover 96 - SV Werder Bremen

With Hannover 96's Bundesliga future and SV Werder Bremen's bid to play in Europe both riding on this derby, the stakes have rarely been so high for a match-up between two of northern Germany's leading lights.

Of the two, it was the hosts who last represented the Bundesliga on the continent, waving their flag in the UEFA Europa League just two seasons ago. Bremen last reached for their passports in 2010/11, yet much has changed over the past 12 months: Hannover slumped into the bottom three for the first time on Matchday 31, while Bremen took a decisive step towards Europe the very same weekend. Saturday's clash is therefore particularly significant.

Hard, but not impossible

"We don't need to talk about our next three games yet, but only about this one against Bremen," said Hannover coach Michael Frontzeck, who took his side into a training camp this week to sharpen their focus. "With two home games and one away, we've got some hard but solvable assignments," added goalkeeper .

In the other camp, hope springs eternal. "I want to get into the Europa League with Werder," said . "We all love the position we're in, and we want to defend it with all our might, and that means getting at least two more wins." Ensuring Hannover don't get their first win in 15 would certainly help Bremen's cause.

Eintracht Frankfurt - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

An injury-hit Eintracht Frankfurt will be looking to limp across the finish line any which way they can when they host TSG 1899 Hoffenheim this weekend. A run of five games without a win has ended the Eagles' hopes of qualifying for Europe next season, but they still need one more win to secure their top-flight status.

Despite losing , and to season-ending injuries, they do not want the season just to peter out without giving some joy to their fans, and vice-versa. "What we've been able to achieve at the Commerzbank-Arena with the fans behind us has been evident in our last nine home games, and now we've got two left," said goalkeeper . "We're going to do all we can to end the season positively. We're all fully motivated."

European dream, not obligation

Much more than pride in ending the season well is Hoffenheim's objective, on the other hand. "Getting into Europe is not our objective, it's our dream," said their coach Markus Gisdol, whose side will hope to keep that dream alive heading into the final two games of the season.

As things stand, Hoffenheim are just one point off the pace for a Europa League berth and Gisdol is counting on Anthony Modeste to hit form when it counts. "I think he's been performing well," said the 45-year-old. "He's getting chances and for me that's a measure of how well a player is doing. He just needs to carry on and the goals will follow." A few on Saturday would certainly do the trick.