By Ben Sully @SullyBen
RB Leipzig will continue their quest for Champions League qualification when they travel to the capital to face Hertha BSC on Saturday.
|Photo: RB Leipzig/OneFootball|
Relegation-threatened Hertha are currently winless in four league games, but they showed great character to rescue a point from last Saturday’s away meeting with Freiburg. Hertha looked to be heading towards defeat when Vincenzo Grifo opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, however, Jessic Ngankam found the net with 14 minutes left to play to ensure the contest finished in a 1-1 draw.
With eight games left to play, Hertha are currently sitting in the relegation playoff spot with three points separating them from safety.
If Hertha are to move out of the bottom three then they will need to improve defensively. No side has conceded more Bundesliga goals this calendar year than Sandro Schwarz’s side, who have shipped 27 goals in their 11 league games in 2023.
The hosts can at least draw inspiration from the fact that they have picked up seven points from their last three home matches.
Hertha will be unable to call upon the services of Stevan Jovetic, Chidera Ejuke, Jean-Paul Boëtius and Kelian Nsona due to injury issues.
After losing three straight games in all competitions, Leipzig returned to winning ways in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday, securing a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund to progress to the semi-finals.
Timo Werner opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before Willi Orbán found the net in the eighth minute of stoppage time to make sure of the victory. The current Pokal holders will now turn their attention back to league matters as they attempt to get their top-four bid back on track.
Having lost three of their last four Bundesliga matches, fifth-placed Leipzig head into the weekend two points adrift of Freiburg, who occupy the fourth position.
Leipzig may be relishing a top-flight meeting against Hertha after winning 11 of their 13 Bundesliga games against Saturday’s opponents.
Marco Rose has said that Christopher Nkunku is unlikely to return from injury in time for Saturday’s contest. Konrad Laimer is a doubt, while Yussuf Poulsen, Xaver Schlager and Peter Gulacsi remain sidelined.