With FSV Mainz and then SC Freiburg on the slate, there's never been a better opportunity for Bruno Labbadia's Hertha to put together a desperately needed winning streak.
Die alte Dame's head-coach made clear that expects nothing short of maximum points in the two fixtures preceding the Christmas break.
His starting XI decisions will be closely scrutinized during this crucial stretch.
|Bruno Labbadia.||Photo: RudolfSimon, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Crunch time in Charlottenburg. The club receiving the largest financial infusion over the last calendar year must begin playing up to its potential.
"We want the optimal points haul this week," remarked Bruno Labbadia during his Monday press conference, "In the Bundesliga, there exists no team that you have permission to underestimate. You must push yourself to the limit against every team."
The big question heading into the media round remained the status of talismanic attacker Matheus Cunha. The Brazilian's absence, due to yellow-card-accumulated suspension, was certainly felt over the weekend during the 1-1 draw with Gladbach. On Sunday it was revealed that the 21-year-old also suffered with some abductor problems.
"Matheus has had one or two aches recently in the abductor areas," Labbadia confirmed, "The break worked well for him in that sense. I hope that the energy he radiates on the pitch will do us good."
As to who might be sacrificed to reintroduce Cunha back into the lineup, the 54-year-old trainer indicated that he wasn't necessarily prepared to pull a streaking Javairo Dilrosun out of the lineup. The 22-year-old Dutchman has been playing very well recently. He even initiated attacks on both Krzysztof Piatek goals in the Berlin derby some ten days ago.
"There's a very good chance that both will play together," Labbadia noted, "There's nothing that speaks against it."
If the Hertha coach plans on keeping Dilrosun, a benching for Piatek, Vladamir Darida, or Dodi Lukebakio will likely be necessary. Labbadia faces unenviable decisions over the course of two fixtures that he definitely must win.