Bayern Munich may go to the top of the Bundesliga table, if only for 24 hours, if they beat Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the hosts are hoping to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat to the defending champions.
However, despite heading into the weekend only two points and two positions above the bottom three, Hertha are clearly a more solid defensive unit under their new boss Sandro Schwarz, with only five teams in the division boasting a better goals against record than them after 12 matches.
On the flipside, though, only the bottom two sides have scored fewer goals than Schwarz’s side, with Hertha blanking once again in a 1-0 defeat away to Werder Bremen last time out as Niclas Fullkrug’s 85th-minute strike condemned them to their fifth league defeat of the season.
Although they have not quite yet managed to hunt down league leaders Union Berlin at the top of the table – when both sides have played the same amount of games at least – Bayern have been in superb form since returning from the international break, winning nine of their 10 matches in all competitions.
With Union Berlin and Freiburg not playing until Sunday afternoon due to their Europa League commitments, even a point in the capital would be enough to see Bayern move top due to their superior goal difference, but anything short of returning to Munich with all three would be considered a huge disappointment.
Hertha look set to be without Stevan Jovetic on Saturday, after the former Manchester City forward was withdrawn during the first half of last weekend’s defeat in Bremen due to a hip injury.
Rune Jarstein, Jessic Ngankam, Marton Dardai, Kelian Nsona and Linus Gechter are all expected to miss out, too, with Schwarz likely to beef up his side’s engine room by bringing Jean-Paul Boetius into the side now that the 28-year-old has fully recovered from having a testicular tumour removed.
Bayern, meanwhile, will travel without Bouna Sarr as he continues his rehabilitation from a patella issue, while Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller are both unlikely to be risked after suffering recent injuries with the World Cup looming later this month.
However, Leroy Sane and Lucas Hernandez have returned to training in the past week, and both could be eased into action from the substitutes’ bench as they aim to gain some match fitness ahead of travelling with their countries to Qatar.
Jamal Musiala, Alphonso Davies and Serge Gnabry could all return to the starting XI having appeared from the bench against Inter in midweek, with Choupo-Moting retaining his place in attack as a just reward for his recent prolific streak in front of goal.
Possible starting lineup:
|Christensen, Oliver||Neuer, Manuel|
|Kenny, Jonjoe||Davies, Alphonso|
|Kempf, Marc||Upamecano, Dayot|
|Plattenhardt, Marvin||Pavard, Benjamin|
|Uremovic, Filip||De Ligt, Matthijs|
|Tousart, Lucas||Kimmich, Joshua|
|Serdar, Suat||Musiala, Jamal|
|Sunjic, Ivan||Goretzka, Leon|
|Lukebakio, Dodi||Mane, Sadio|
|Kanga, Wilfried||Muller, Thomas|
|Ejuke, Chidera||Gnabry, Serge|
Hertha = 10.7%
Draw = 12.9%
Bayern = 76.4%
Hertha 1-3 Bayern
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