One team fighting to come up, another fighting to stop themselves going down. It can only mean one thing: the Bundesliga play-off is upon us.
Hertha BSC narrowly avoided automatic relegation on the last day of the season, with FC Koln the team joining Kaiserslauten in 2. Bundesliga.
Berlin’s reward for temporarily beating the drop is the double-headed play-off against Fortuna Dusseldorf, who finished third in Germany’s second division.
Berlin were only promoted back to the Bundesliga last year, after a solitary season in the second tier, and that will not be something they’ll be looking for more of.
For Dusseldorf, meanwhile, promotion would represent a remarkable rise through the leagues for a side that were in the 4th division eight years ago, and were only promoted from the third division in 2009.
Hertha’s form is, given their league position, unsurprisingly poor, with just one win, one draw and three defeats from their last five games. However, Dusseldorf’s is not much better, a bit of a surprise given their final league place. They head into the game on the back of two wins, two draws and a defeat.
Hertha will also take heart from winning such a crucial game against Hoffenheim on the last day of the season, and the same cannot be said for Dusseldorf. For that reason, I’d back to Die Alte Dame to stay in the Bundesliga.
Eurosport’s Ian Holyman echoed these sentiments, saying: “Having seen their [Dusseldorf’s] display against ten-man Duisburg on the final day of the season, and the poor form they’ve had in 2012 – just 4 wins – I cannot see them beating Hertha.
“Admittedly, Hertha have not been in great form themselves since the turn of the year…but they have players of genuine quality in their squad, who have under-performed.
“Dusseldforf, other than young attacking midfielder Max Beister, who’ll return to Hamburg in the summer when his loan expires, have no-one of similar ilk.”
Who’ll be the Bundesliga side after these two games? Comment below with your thoughts ahead of the play-off…