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Jan 15, 2022 at 2.30pm UK
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Preview: Wolfsburg vs. Hertha Berlin - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Wolfsburg vs. Hertha Berlin - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Wolfsburg will be desperate to halt their losing run when they host Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.

The hosts are in freefall following their eight consecutive losses in all competitions, whilst the visitors will be looking to bounce back from their own defeat last weekend, when German football returned from the winter break.

Match preview

Wolfsburg's situation becomes more and more concerning as each week passes currently, with the 1-0 defeat at VfL Bochum on Sunday ensuring that their 2022 began as 2021 had ended.

The tie was relatively even for the majority of the encounter, but Florian Kohfeldt's men once again lacked a clinical edge, or any real creativity, in front of goal, despite facing off against a newly-promoted side.

Back in the middle of September the Wolves were sitting pretty at the top of the Bundesliga following a 100% return from the opening four matchdays, so very few could have predicted that come January in the New Year, they would instead be down in 14th place and just two points, and positions, above the relegation playoff spot.

Since those opening four victories, in fact, Wolfsburg have come out winners just three times in the 20 matches that have followed in all competitions, all of which arrived consecutively in Kohfeldt's first three games in charge, after he took over Mark van Bommel back in October.

With just a draw and eight successive defeats to show for his efforts since though, Kohfeldt could well be suffering the same fate as his predecessor should he fail to turn results around swiftly.

Three points on Saturday would be a huge relief and could lift the hosts up to 11th should results go their way, but even if other games do go in their favour, Wolfsburg would still find themselves seven points off a Champions League place, meaning their goal of reaching Europe's grand stage in back-to-back seasons is a tough ask as things stand.

Meanwhile, Saturday's visitors find themselves one point and one place above their hosts at the Volkswagen Arena, but despite this, their situation is not quite so concerning.

A comfortable top-half finish remains the aim for the capital side, but in order to achieve that, Tayfun Korkut's side will need to extend the current three-point gap between them and Augsburg in the relegation playoff spot.

After beginning with two wins, a draw and just a single defeat in his opening four games since succeeding Pal Dardai, Korkut and his men returned from the winter break last weekend with a 3-1 defeat at home to FC Koln.

A 2-0 deficit was taken into half time at the Olympiastadion, but even after Vladimir Darida pulled a goal back shortly before the hour mark, Hertha could not get themselves level and eventually fell to a deserved defeat.

The three-week break came at a poor time for the Old Lady, who had beaten second-placed Borussia Dortmund 3-2 immediately before the Bundesliga came to a close in Germany, and with momentum lost during the downtime, a below-par performance was a disappointing way to begin 2022 last weekend.

With their hosts in such poor form though, Korkut will be confident that his side can kickstart their 2022 with a win on Saturday, and pull further away from danger in the process, whilst gaining revenge against the opponent that defeated them 2-1 on matchday two back in August.

Wolfsburg Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Wolfsburg form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Hertha Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Wolfsburg will remain without four long-term absentees on Saturday, with William, Paulo Otavio, Xaver Schlager and Lukas Nmecha all being sidelined until later this year.

The latter remains a huge miss to their front line, with the German forward's six Bundesliga goals this campaign being one of the few bright sparks of their season so far.

Admir Mehmedi, Aster Vranckx and Marvin Stefaniak are also ruled out until the end of January, whilst Dodi Lukebakio will miss out after contracting COVID-19.

Josuha Guilavogui could earn a recall in the centre of midfield in place of Yannick Gerhardt, and Renato Steffen and Felix Nmecha are different options to provide some much-needed life to a side struggling in front of goal.

As for the visitors, Krzysztof Piatek's move to Fiorentina, and Stevan Jovetic's calf injury, leave Korkut short of options in attack.

Ishak Belfodil would be another option, but he is absent due to COVID-19, along with Oliver Christensen, Fredrik Andre Bjorkan, Deyovaisio Zeefuik and captain Dedryck Boyata.

Thirty-seven-year-old Rune Jarstein remains sidelined with a knee injury, whilst Suat Serdar and Kevin Prince-Boateng will serve one-match suspensions following their fifth yellow cards of the season last weekend.

Wolfsburg possible starting lineup:
Casteels; Lacroix, Bornauw, Brooks; Baku, Arnold, Guilavogui, Roussillon; Steffen, Waldschmidt; Weghorst

Hertha Berlin possible starting lineup:
Schwolow; Pekarik, Stark, Torunarigha, Plattenhardt; Darida, Tousart; Richter, Mittelstadt; Selke, Maolida

We say: Wolfsburg 1-1 Hertha Berlin

This tie is a tough one to call considering how evenly matched the two sides appear heading into the encounter, as well as their similar lack of options due to various injuries and COVID-19 absences.

The hosts would usually be expected to win this tie, particularly with home advantage, but due to their serious struggles of late, we are predicting a tight game that will finish as a draw on Saturday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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