presented by
'Dangerous' Hertha

Bayern aim to shore up lead in table

The hunt for records continues, and the next opportunity comes on Saturday when Bayern face Hertha BSC (Live in English from 3.30 pm CET on Web Radio). By beating the recently promoted team from Germany's capital, the Reds could extend their unbeaten streak in the league to 35 matches and ratchet up the threat to current record holders Hamburg (36 matches). What’s more, it would keep the champions ahead of Dortmund and Leverkusen, who are both one point behind in second and third place.

However, Hertha cannot be underestimated. They are the “surprise of this year’s Bundesliga season,” as chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge noted. The Berlin team lie a creditable fourth in the table with 15 points after nine matches. “It has nothing to do with good fortune,” Rummenigge continued, “they’ve had a great start, the team is confident, and they play very refreshing football.”

Guardiola issues warning

Coach Pep Guardiola agreed, although he admitted to being “surprised by Berlin's strength. They play very aggressively and use quick transitions between defence and attack.” He also emphasised the speed of Berlin's attackers and thinks “the match will be a good test for us, to see if we’re capable of keeping counter-attacking teams under control. It will show whether we’ve improved.” For the Spaniard, this is the “most important” match of the season so far.

Bayern are certainly forewarned, especially considering Berlin have lost only one of their away matches this season (2-0 against Wolfsburg). On the other hand, FCB have yet to drop a point at home, have scored in their last 46 Bundesliga matches (a Bundesliga record) and have only conceded four goals this season so far. Unsurprisingly, Berlin travel to Munich with a lot of respect: “It will be our toughest match this season,” coach Jos Luhukay said.

Hertha hoping for a miracle

Compared to the 5-0 win over Viktoria Plzen, Guardiola has the option of restoring Jérôme Boateng to his team. The centre half was suspended for the meeting with the Czech champions and is looking forward to the match against “the club where I grew up. I took my first steps in the Bundesliga playing for Berlin and I’ll always be thankful for that.” There will, however, be no presents for old friends on Saturday: “We want the three points.”

Javi Martínez may also be part of the action, and could celebrate his comeback after nearly two months on the sidelines. Guardiola is definitely without Claudio Pizarro (pulled muscle), Dante, Thiago, Xherdan Shaqiri and Holger Badstuber.

Two former Munich players are expected to make an appearance for Hertha BSC, namely Thomas Kraft and Sebastian Langkamp. Two other ex-Bayern players, Alexander Baumjohann and Sandro Wagner, will miss the match due to injury. The men from the capital are not exactly going into the game with high expectations: “At the moment it’s hard for any team to compete with Bayern. They’re extremely strong, very solid and very stable,” Luhukay said. “We’ll need a miracle to even get a point.”