Third-placed Hertha Berlin face another test of their top-four credentials on Saturday when they pay in-form TSG 1899 Hoffenheim a visit (kick-off: 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).
Hoffenheim approach this one on a high after securing a crucial 2-0 win at relegation rivals Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend. New coach Julian Nagelsmann has been a revelation at the Sinsheim-based club, with only Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola picking up more than the 28-year-old's 17 points in the nine games since he took charge.
Held on home turf by Hannover 96 on Matchday 29, Hertha's cushion on fourth place has been cut to just one point. The Berliners were not at their usual defensive best at the Olympiastadion last time out and paid for it, but the potential return of towering USA international centre-half John Anthony Brooks this week is good news for Pal Dardai's side.
Matchday 13 rewind: Hertha Berlin 1-0 Hoffenheim
Matchday 30 - match stats
- Without a defeat in the last four games, Hoffenheim are currently on their longest unbeaten run of the season.Die Kraichgauer have already picked up more points (17) in nine games under Nagelsmann than in the entirety of the previous 20 games (14).On Matchday 34 last season, Hertha's survival was confirmed at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, despite a 2-1 defeat. This season, the Berliners roll into town in third place.Hoffenheim are unbeaten at home under Nagelsmann (W3 D1), while Hertha have lost three of the last four games on the road.Hertha striker Vedad Ibisevic represented Hoffenheim from 2007 until 2012, scoring 43 goals.Mark Uth has scored four of his five goals this season under Nagelsmann.
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Kaderabek, Schär, Süle, Toljan - Amiri, Strobl - Ochs - Uth, Volland - Kramaric
Absentees: Rudy (suspended), Herdling (knee), Schwegler (light training), Bicakcic, Kim (both muscular)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein - Pekarik, Stark, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Lustenberger, Skjelbred - Haraguchi, Darida, Kalou - Ibisevic
Absentees: Allagui (light training), Weiser (suspended), Kurt (muscular)
Coach: Pal Dardai