With the prospect of playing a final in their own Olympiastadion now tantalisingly close, Hertha Berlin face Bundesliga 2 side 1. FC Heidenheim in the DFB Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday evening (kick-off 19:00CET/18:00GMT).
Hertha have been the surprise package in the Bundesliga this season and currently sit in third place in the . Furthermore, coach Pal Dardai’s men are unbeaten in their last six competitive outings, and in Salomon Kalou, boast one of the most clinical strikers in Germany at present.
Nevertheless, Dardai was quick to preach caution at his pre-match press conference ahead of the 600-kilometre trip south. “We can’t underestimate our opponents,” said the Hungarian strategist. “We’re taking the game very seriously and want to get to the next round. It’ll be a real cup battle.”
Hertha have never won the competition, with a runners-up medal from the 1976/77 season the closest they have come to lifting the trophy. Yet as the final will be held in their own stadium on 21 May, the capital club are doubly motivated to succeed.
It will not be easy against dogged opponents, however. Heidenheim are eighth in Bundesliga 2 and have one of the meanest defences in the division: Frank Schmidt’s charges have only conceded 20 league goals this term. “They’re well organised, they always have a gameplan and they’ve got quick, agile players,” said Dardai of Wednesday’s hosts.