Relegation play-off second-leg:
Hamburger SV vs Hertha BSC preview
By Ben Sully @SullyBen
Hertha BSC will need to come from a goal down in the second leg of their relegation play-off tie with Hamburger SV if they wish to remain in the top flight, while the hosts are within touching distance of a Bundesliga place.
HSV take a slender into the second leg after winning 1-0 at the Olympiastadion on Friday. Ludovit Reis managed to find the net in the second half to ensure his team head back to the Volksparkstadion with the playoff tie in their favour.
With HSV just 90 minutes from returning to the top flight for the first time since 2018, there will be a few nerves surfacing amongst the playing squad.
As a result of the first leg victory, Die Rothosen have now won their last five matches by a combined 14-3 scoreline.
The hosts will be fully aware that home advantage could play a key role in Monday's contest, and with three wins from their last four home games, HSV will be confident that they can avoid defeat in the second leg.
Rather than maintaining their narrow advantage, the hosts will be looking to add to their one-goal lead, and recent history suggests they have every chance of doing so. HSV have scored in every home match since a goalless draw against Greuther Fürth in February 2021.
With the tie delicately poised, the first goal will be crucial, especially as HSV managed to avoid defeat in all of the 19 league games in which they found the net first this season.
Hamburg have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the second leg contest, although they are still without the services of Anssi Suhonen and Tim Leibold, who are struggling with injury issues.
Hertha must feel as though they are currently living a nightmare. After a stoppage-time winner for Stuttgart condemned Hertha to the playoff, Felix Magath's side then failed to make the most of home advantage in the first leg.
As a result of Friday's defeat, Die Alte Dame need to overturn a one-goal deficit if they wish to extend their stay in the top flight into a tenth season.
With a victory needed at the Volksparkstadion, Hertha will take little comfort from a Bundesliga away record that yielded just three victories in 17 away trips.
In fact, Hertha have emerged victorious from an away fixture on just one occasion in 2022, which will be a cause for concern.
The visitors can at least take confidence from recent away performances, even if a couple of them ended in defeat. Hertha were just edged out by Bayer Leverkusen before Augsburg were then beaten via a 2-0 scoreline. A 1-1 draw away to Arminia Bielefeld, while in their most recent away game, Hertha fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund despite holding the lead at half time.
If Hertha can repeat the 2-1 victory they picked up in their last visit to the Volksparkstadion in 2018 then the playoff would be decided by extra time and potentially penalties.
Marcel Lotka will once again miss out, ensuring Oliver Christensen will continue in goal after making his debut in the first leg. Lukas Klunter is unavailable due to a shoulder problem, while a knee injury will prevent Dong-jun Lee from featuring.
Davie Selke and Marton Dardai are also sidelined for the visitors, although Hertha can call upon Santiago Ascacibar following his return from suspension. Magath, meanwhile, has hinted that Stevan Jovetic and Kevin-Prince Boateng are in line for starting opportunities.
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