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Sports

Hertha Berlin: Shaky, but not stirred

The relegation battle in the Bundesliga is going down to the wire. To kick off our analysis of the six clubs in danger of the drop, DW's Thomas Klein looks at the fate of Hertha Berlin.

The maths: Too tight for comfort

Of all those in the relegation battle, Hertha Berlin is holding the best cards. They have 35 points and are currently sitting in 13th place. They are still two points away from the team that needs to play in the relegation playoff, a two-legged match up between the third worst in the Bundesliga and the third best in the second division. But still, they can't rest on their laurels.

Hertha takes on Hoffenheim in their final game, and the Berliners need just one point if they want to be absolutely sure of staying up. Otherwise, they have to hope some other teams do them some favors. "We have to win a match point next week," coach Pal Dardai said after his team's matchday 33 draw against Frankfurt.

The mood: "We won't be panicking"

Hertha's form of late has been heading downhill. One scene from the Frankfurt game made it clear how tense things are in Berlin at the moment. Million dollar man Salomon Kalou had a great chance to put his team ahead when he was through on goal with just the keeper to beat. But, instead of going for the target, he tried to loop the ball over Frankfurt's keeper Kevin Trapp. "You get an invitation from your opponent and then you try an arrogant lob. That's not on," Dardai said, in an angry mood after the game.

Hertha's keeper Thomas Kraft was even more annoyed. After the final whistle, he answered journalists with "Why don't you ask our blind striker?" Hertha would have been safe if they had won against Frankfurt at home. Now, the capital club has to struggle until the last round. The scene perhaps also shows that some of Hertha's players don't seem to be taking Hertha's relegation fight too seriously.

Thomas Kraft

Not happy: Thomas Kraft had some choice words for reporters after his team's last game

But panic doesn't seem to be setting in. Hertha's coach Pal Dardai says that ahead of his team's crucial match against Hoffenheim, he doesn't want to make old mistakes. "We are not panicking, we're not having a crisis meeting." On Monday, the team had the day off and didn't train. "What happens to the players if you force them together for three days? We did that before and we got relegated." The Hungarian remembers all too well what went wrong in Berlin in 2010.

The prognosis: Hertha should stay up

Hertha's biggest advantage in their fight against relegation is their current points tally. Going straight down, without even a chance at a playoff, is almost statistically impossible - unless Hamburg wins by 12 goals. Even a playoff match is unlikely.

But still, getting a point against Hoffenheim at the moment won't be easy. Markus Gisdol's team will want to finish their season off with a win in front of their home fans and Hertha is not performing well at the moment.

But even if they go home empty-handed, Berlin should still stay up because their buffer to the relegation zone is just big enough.