It's the biggest game in recent times for both Hamburg and Hertha Berlin as the two clash in the second leg of the Bundesliga relegation playoffs with Hamburg taking with them a one-goal lead from the Olympiastadion last time out.
It was a freak goal that separated the two over in Berlin, as a second half strike from Ludovit Reis caught out Christensen between the Hertha sticks. It was the game's only goal in what was otherwise a well-fought and closely-matched affair in the capital, so despite Hamburg taking with them a 1-0 lead back to home soil for this second leg, they do still have a lot of work to do as Hertha will be throwing the kitchen sink their way as they look to remain in the Bundesliga.
Hertha have become accustomed to life in the Bundesliga for an entire generation, as since their promotion back into the Bundesliga back in 2002, they've remained inside the top flight of German football ever since, racked up a few Europa League-placed finishes in the table, and not once been this close to falling back into 2. Bundesliga in 20 years. However, it seems the 20-year cycle in the Bundesliga has come full circle now, as they trail this playoff match to decide where they will be next season, and with the trip to Hamburg, they now have one foot in the second tier.
What's worse for Hertha is how they have won just two games on the road all season long and are now the narrow favourites to win here on the day at 21/20 compared to Hamburg's 23/20 price. This mainly comes with the idea of the club being the Bundesliga team, but in truth, with just nine wins all season long along with 19 losses, the club have also conceded an alarming 71 times in the league, which is the second-highest in the division after bottom-placed Greuther Furth.
Hamburg have had a sensational last few weeks to get themselves in this position, and with them trailing Darmstadt and St. Pauli for a large chunk of 2022 and looking like having to settle for yet another season in 2. Bundesliga, the club have gone on to rack up five wins from their last five league games, scoring 14 times within this period and letting in only five goals. They beat Hansa on the final day of the season by the barest of margins to get into this position, and in reality, they only ended up in third to make it into the playoffs by goals difference.
The goals difference is certainly one to note heading into this game here, with them having conceded the league's fewest goals by conceding just 35 times across 34 games. Better yet for Hamburg, they've lost just twice at home all season long amongst their six league defeats and 16 victories, with their 12 draws being their downfall.
Hamburg now lead 1-0, and they are in the best position they've been in since 2018 to return back to the top flight after a four-season absence.