23 points from 13 games and, as it stands, on course for a qualifying tilt at next year's UEFA Champions League: Hertha Berlin are unquestionably the top-end surprise package of the season so far. On the back of a consolidatory 1-0 home win against 1899 Hoffenheim, the alte Dame heads south sitting pretty fourth in the table, to face the ultimate test of her revitalised credentials – against FC Bayern München, at the Allianz Arena.
Head coach Pal Dardai has brought a clear-cut strategy to bear on a team now playing with more fluency, consistency and bite.
"We'll be totally focused in our preparations. Bayern are one of the best sides in the world, but we're traveling to Munich in high spirits and with confidence. 23 points are proof enough that we don't necessarily have to park the bus," said Dardai. Not that he is advocating a strategy of all-out attack, either – knowing full well that this one will require a certain adaptation of the possession-heavy, midfield pressing style that has served Hertha so well of late.