Germany: Play-offs 1/2
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
Hertha BSC
D. Boyata (4), M. Plattenhardt (63), L. Tousart (90)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Magath provides squad update at final pre-match presser: "The pressure is on HSV."

Hertha caretaker trainer Felix Magath again had a long list of injured to enumerate at his Sunday press conference, 

True to form, however, the 68-year-old had some mind games in store for his opponent. 

HSV head-coach Tim Walter responded in kind during his own presser.
In addition to confirming that the squad's de-facto first choice keeper Marcel Lotka would bee unavailable for Monday's second leg of the promotion-relegation playoffs, Felix Magath laid bare that he would be missing several other actors in his squad ahead of the do-or-die.

Lukas Klünter (shoulder) and Dong-Jun Lee (ankle) remain out. additionally, muscular problems will continue to sideline Davie Selke and Marton Dardai. Defender Linus Gechter is also sick again, falling prey to his third viral infection in as many weeks.

Magath nevertheless put a brave face on proceedings. The interim trainer pointed to the fact that midfielder Santiago Ascacibar will be back after serving suspension and alluded to possible starts for Stevan Jovetic and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

"We've been in this situation for the last four games," Magath said, "We were always on the verge of securing the class before suffering a relatively late setback. So far, we've always managed to attack again after dealing with that disappointment. That's how I see it now, too. I'm convinced that we'll be able to put this setback behind us as well."

"At the moment we are out. We've nothing to lose," he added, "The situation is now reversed compared to Thursday. Now HSV is the one with something to lose. Now the pressure is on HSV. That's why I see the situation as the better one for us now and I think we'll have a good chance to turn it around in the second leg."

Though he didn't reference it specifically, Magath's mind was very likely influenced by last night's Pokal Final. SC Freiburg seemed to wilt under the pressure of carrying a 1-0 lead and a man-advantage over the line. The situational context almost proved liberating for Leipzig. Domenico Tedesco's men played with reckless abandon while Christrian Streich's charges seemed tight and nervous.

"I felt yesterday that cohesion is once again developing within the squad," Magath explained, "We are ready for the game on Monday night."

"All the chips are on the table ," managing director Fredi Bobic noted when it was time for him to add his two cents,. "There is only this one game left, it's like a final for us. It's like in the European Cup. I have not only the hope, but also the conviction that the guys go into the game with a certain anger."

Speaking at his own press conference a bit later, HSV trainer Tim Walter was asked about the statements made by his opponents.

"Pressure is a privilege," Walter noted, "It's only halftime. At halftime you don't rejoice, you discuss the second half. It's not over yet."

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