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Sports

Bundesliga: Saturday's Talking Points

Matchday 16 in the Bundesliga and there are three talking points from Saturday's action. Hertha like the top half of the table, Wolfsburg are lacking Bundesliga bite and the relegation battle is as tight as always.

Hipster Hertha here to stay

Enough has been written about Hertha's legitimacy this season. A 4-0 win against Darmstadt confirms that Pal Dardai has worked wonders for this team, who look set to be in a Champions League spot during the winter break. Along with Salomon Kalou, Vedad Ibisevic has been a source of goals, something lacking in the past. Ibisevic's third brace of the season downed Darmstadt, but it was Hertha's organization and ruthlessness that were most impressive. And it isn't the first time this season that has been the case. If this continues, Hertha will be flying high at the end of the season, but they must tread more carefully in the Champions League than they did the last time. Either way, the stock of both Dardai and a few of his players have risen.

Wolves a domestic worry

For all the glory of their Champions League success, Wolfsburg have stuttered towards the Bundesliga winter break. Throwing away a point against Dortmund last weekend was followed by dropping two against Hamburg. Hamburg have improved of late, but Wolfsburg have not won since that 6-0 thrashing of Bremen on matchday 13. If Dortmund win on Sunday, Wolfsburg will be 12 points off second. It has by no means been a disaster, but with the chasing pack so tightly packed, Dieter Hecking knows dropping points will be costly.

Wide-open relegation battle

After Hoffenheim's first win under Huub Stevens against Hannover on Saturday, the relegation battle has become typically close again in the Bundesliga. Three points separates rock-bottom Stuttgart and wavering Werder in 13th. Hannover will feel hard done by not to have come away with something from the game in Sinsheim, but Stuttgart could argue they too should have had more than a point on Friday night against Mainz. Wins for Augsburg (Schalke) and Frankfurt (Dortmund) look unlikely, meaning a strong start to the second half of the season is pivotal.