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Germany: Bundesliga
5 - 2
(2 - 1)
Schalke 04
Hertha BSC
T. Skarke (3), M. Bülter (13), S. Terodde (48), M. Bülter (78), M. Kamiński (90)
S. Jovetić (45), M. Richter (84)

Schwarz guarantees starting spot for Lukebakio, Reis plans with Jenz and Drexler

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Ahead of their crucial relegation six-pointer in tomorrow evening's matchday 28 Bundesliga curtain-raiser, respective trainers Thomas Reis and Sandro Schwarz gave insight into their squad selections at their respective pressers yesterday. 
Thomas Reis.
Thomas Reis.
Hertha BSC trainer Sandro Schwarz spoke of a "mammoth opportunity" when discussing tomorrow evening's fixture at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The Charlottenburger trainer hopes to attain all three points against relegation rivals FC Schalke 04.

A win for Hertha could potentially see the capital city side pull themselves out of the relegation zone. A loss for Schalke, meanwhile, might even end up sealing the fate of one of the seven clubs actively battling the drop this year.

Given that Schwarz reportedly spoke of the need to find the right "man vs; man orientation", it's safe to assume that the Hertha gaffer will stick to his usual 3-5-2. As to which players will feature in it, Jonjoe Kenny, Kevin-Prince Boateng, and Wilfried Kanga may be dropped after disappointing performances last week. 

Schwarz seemed to indicate that Suat Serdar (for Boateng), Jessic Ngankam (for Kanga), and Marco Richter (for Kenny) would return to slot into their old positions. Stevan Jovetic (once again fit) or Florian Niederlechner could also take Kanga's place. Schwarz did guarantee a starting spot for one striker in his two forward positions.

"Dodi [Lukebakio] will be on the pitch, for sure," Schwarz stressed, "It's a matter of finding spaces where he can use his strengths, his speed, but also his footballing skills. That will be the order of the day for us."

Over in Gelsenkirchen, Thomas Reis again emphasized that he was dissatisfied with the performance of his entire team (save for keeper Ralf Fährmann) during last Sunday's loss to Hoffenheim. At least one problem (that of ineffective right back Thomas Ouwejan) seems to have solved itself.

Reis expressed optimism that central defender Moritz Jenz - missing from the last two matches due to injury - would once again be ready to revive his central defensive partnership with Maya Yoshida. Henning Matriciani can, as a result, swing back out to left back.

"He's fit for action," Reis said of Jenz at a Wednesday presser, "At the moment, it looks like he'll be playing. We're naturally pleased that such quality is back to assist the team."

Wholesale offensive changes might also be coming following disappointing performances from Michael Frey, Rodrigo Zalazar, and Tim Skarke. Veteran Dominick Drexler was able to return to action off the bench following a long injury layoff against Hoffenheim and is poised to take over one of the places.

Reis had high words of praise for the 32-year-old - who also extended his expiring contract this week - at the presser. Drexler could take either Skarke or Zalazar's place. The latter seems like the more likely player to make way. It appears as if the young Uruguayan's work as a ten has been just a bit too fancy for the squad's build-up play in recent fixtures.

"Dome [Drexler] is a player who has an incredibly good passing game and can lead a team," Reis said, "He can also be rigorous in tackles. He is a smart player who can move well in spaces. We want to take advantage of that."

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