Pal Dardai's Hertha Berlin face a difficult trip to Brondby as they look to take a step closer towards the group stage of the Europa League. Can they finish the job in Denmark?
Hertha Berlin face ten-time Danish champions Brondby on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League clash, as the Berliners look to progress into the play-off round.
The Bundesliga side take a slender 1-0 advantage to Denmark, which came courtesy of an acrobatic winner by Vedad Ibisevic last Thursday, but Pal Dardai's side face a potentially tricky game against a side whose season is already in full swing.
"We are in full preparation for the Bundesliga season and the legs are heavy," Dardai said. "We are playing a fresh team and we are missing that advantage."
But even with Hertha's opening Bundesliga game against newcomers Freiburg a little over three weeks away, Dardai is tasked with leading Hertha towards the all-important group stages of the competition for the first time since 2009.
"It is very important that we can continue to talk about international football," said Dardai. "We will do everything we can to get through, and I take full responsibilty for that."
Goalkeeper still not settled
Dardai is faced with a dilemma over which goalkeeper to select in Denmark, and is yet to commit to either of his options in that position. Rune Jarstein, who started last week at Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Sportpark, may lose his place to Thomas Kraft.
"I'm not yet sure which goalkeeper will play, but the Bundesliga is still far away. I have two strong goalkeepers," admitted Dardai.
Hertha captain Fabian Lustenberger returns after recovering from stomach strain, while American John Anthony Brooks and Slovak Peter Pekarik are available after competing in the Copa America and European Championship, respectively.
And Hertha will need big performances from the likes of Brooks, Pekarik and star players Mitchell Weiser, Salomon Kalou and Ibisevic, with Brondby likely to offer more attacking intent than a week ago.