Hertha are dreaming of ending a perfect season with cup glory in their own backyard. But Borussia Dortmund stand in their way, and the Berliners want to transfer the Anfield Road atmosphere to the German capital.
Hertha Berlin, Germany's capital club, are hoping to book a dream German Cup final in their home stadium by calling on inspiration from Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool. The Reds' turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory against Borussia Dortmund last week, and coach Pal Dardai has been using videos from Anfield to motivate his players ahead of Wednesday's semifinal.
"Liverpool has to be our model. As far as passion and heart is concerned the 4-3 win by the English side against Dortmund was a dream for every player and fan," Dardai told German newspaper "Bild". The Hungarian has called on Hertha fans to turn their own South Stand into Liverpool's famous Kop stand.
Hertha Berlin haven't had a lot of success in the cup in recent years, with the club's first team making their last appearance in the semifinals all the way back in 1981. In a bizarre twist of fate in 1993, the club's reserve side surprised everybody by reaching the final where they lost 1-0 to Bayer Leverkusen, who had already eliminated Hertha's senior team in the competition.
All this is ancient history for Hertha's current side, which ranks third in the Bundesliga, but they will be hoping to write a Cinderella story as they look to reach their first final since 1979. "We are very proud to have already come this far. We're going to play with great joy and even greater passion," sporting director Michael Preetz told a press conference on Monday. "I have waited 20 years for this moment."
Full focus for Borussia Dortmund
Three-time winners Borussia Dortmund are eager to return to the German capital and put right their last two visits which ended in defeat. Another match up against Bayern Munich means the yellow-and-blacks have an opportunity to lay down a marker ahead of next season when the German champions welcome Carlo Ancelotti as their new coach.
With a return to the Champions League secured, Dortmund's attention is now on cup success. Losing out in such dramatic fashion against Liverpool has put a downer on their season in recent weeks, and head coach Thomas Tuchel feels his side need to improve.
"We need to play better in general," said Tuchel. "Liverpool was similar to Bremen and all the others. We have room for improvement. Before the international break we moved the ball more quickly and used space better. There is also room for improvement with our counter-pressing. We'll need to go up a notch to get through."
After making eight changes in the 3-0 win over Hamburg, Dortmund will head for Berlin at almost full strength. The only major absences are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is out with a toe injury, and center-back Neven Subotic. Dortmund have already seen off two Bundesliga sides in the German Cup, beating Stuttgart and Augsburg.
"We're in good spirits ahead of the game in Berlin," coach Thomas Tuchel said. "We want to reach the final. That is our only mindset."