Hertha Berlin-Bayern Munich Preview: Hosts hoping to take advantage of tired champions

Manuel Neuer admitted the Bundesliga leaders were “drained of energy” after the defeat to Manchester City and the home side will be hoping to capitalise on their wariness

Hertha Berlin will hope to take advantage of Bayern Munich’s fatigue when they host the Bundesliga champions on Saturday.

Bayern played more than 70 minutes with 10 men on Tuesday in a last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Premier League champions Manchester City.

Defender Mehdi Benatia was sent off in the 20th minute of the Champions League loss but Bayern – missing injured pair Philipp Lahm and David Alaba, and with Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze on the bench – were still able to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

Goals from Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski saw Bayern claim a 2-1 lead at the break – only for Sergio Aguero to strike twice in the last 10 minutes to give City a dramatic home win.

Bayern had already qualified for the last 16 in Europe’s premier club competition so the defeat ultimately meant little, but it did signal their first loss since August.

Pep Guardiola’s men are sure to be keen to avenge that but will face a fresher Hertha side who had no midweek commitments.

However, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has admitted Bayern’s players are suffering from fatigue after their defeat in England.

“We were drained of energy,” Neuer told Bayern’s official website. “But that’s normal when you play for so long with ten men.”

Defender Rafinha echoed his team-mate’s thoughts and added: “Playing for so long with a man less is very hard work.”

Guardiola showed he perhaps had one eye on the clash in the German capital by refusing to bring on Muller and Gotze in the second half.

As a result, both are highly likely to start while Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger should feature upon his return from injury, having appeared off the bench in Bayern’s last two matches.

Bayern already lead Bundesliga by seven points and have scored 31 goals in just 12 league matches.

That is bad news for a Hertha side who have the fourth-worst defence in the league.

And Bayern have run rampant against Hertha in their last six matches – which they have won – scoring 24 goals in the process.

Gotze scored in both wins last term – 3-2 in Munich and 3-1 in Berlin – and will be out to add to his account.

Germany’s World Cup hero is the joint top-scorer in Bundesliga with seven this season.

While Bayern have won seven of their last eight league matches, Hertha’s form is more patchy.

They ended a three-match losing streak in all competitions with a 2-1 success at Cologne on Saturday.

Defender Marcel N’Djeng scored an 86th-minute winner on that occasion, his first goal in more than 18 months.

Three of Hertha’s four Bundesliga wins have come at home and a 1-0 triumph over second-placed Wolfsburg in September was impressive.

But despite that, and Bayern’s fatigue, they will have their work cut out to gain victory on Saturday.

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