Created on 2018-02-23 at 16:00 PM
Bayern have a comfortable 19-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund with 11 matches left. A win on Saturday against Hertha BSC (coverage from 15:30 on ticker and Webradio) would bring the record champions a step closer to defending their title. “I think the players want to keep picking up points and having success in the league,” said coach Jupp Heynckes on Friday ahead of his team’s final training session.
Heynckes is not worried about a drop in intensity among his players despite their sizeable lead. “I have no concerns about the players letting their concentration levels drop.” With the Reds still involved in three competition, there can be “no relaxing” according to Heynckes, who issued a warning about Saturday’s opponents from Berlin: “Hertha are an aggressive side who battle hard and play with discipline,” stressed the 72 year-old tactician. “It certainly won’t be easy.”
James ruled out
Heynckes is set to alter his line-up once again. James has been ruled out after suffering a calf injury while Jérôme Boateng is a doubt due to a cold and stomach bug. Mats Hummels and Joshua Kimmich are nursing knocks after Tuesday’s Champions League game against Besiktas, with Heynckes reporting that they will be assessed after training.
Arturo Vidal is available again after serving a suspension against Wolfsburg last weekend. Thiago, Juan Bernat and Sebastian Rudy, who weren’t involved against Besiktas, are also in contention to start against the Berliners, who have not won at Bayern since 1977.
Hertha dangerous on the road
For Hertha, the aim is to close the gap on the Europa League places following their defeat at home to Mainz 05 last time out. They have already proven they can match the best teams in the league away from home with wins at Leverkusen (2-0) and Leipzig (3-2) this season. “We obviously know it’s a tough task, but we expect – as we do in every game – the team to go above and beyond their limits,” commented sporting director Michael Preetz.
At the start of the week it looked like Hertha could be missing up to eight first-team players for Matchday 24, but their injury problems have eased in recent days. “It looks okay, we’ll travel to Munich with a strong squad,” announced coach Pal Dardai. The Hungarian will, however, be without Vedad Ibisevic (broken nose), Arne Maier (illness), Julian Schieber (muscular problems) and Karim Rekik (training deficit).