When the groups were announced back in September, Hertha Berlin surely would’ve fancied their chances of making the last 32; however, they’ve failed to get there with one game to spare. Quite simply, the performances of Pal Dardai’s men have not been up to scratch in this competition, and they’ve paid the price. In contrast, Ostersunds have impressed. A point from this fixture would likely see them win the group, while a win would guarantee that the Swedish outfit are crowned as Group J winners.
With Hertha now unable to reach the knockout rounds, the German side can be expected to disregard this fixture somewhat. Even on home soil, Pal Dardai is unlikely to risk several of his key players, especially with a big Bundesliga game coming up at the weekend. In contrast, Ostersunds know that they can clinch top spot with a win, so their efforts should remain high. Keeping this in mind, it’s somewhat surprising that the visitors are viewed as outsiders in the betting. At the prices, backing ‘Ostersunds Draw No Bet’ is the way to go.
The fact that Hertha literally have nothing to fight for here is a massive factor. Not only is their nothing (but pride) at stake for the hosts, but they’ve been well below their best in this competition, as they’ve avoided defeat in just two of their five matches. They are without defeat on home soil, but that doesn’t mean they’ve performed particularly well, and, in truth, it’s hard to see them delivering a big performance under the circumstances.
Unlike their hosts, Ostersunds have played very well during this campaign; they’ve looked good going forward, especially on the break, while they’ve certainly competed defensively. Three clean sheets bode well, as does the fact that they’ve failed to score on just one occasion.
When the pair met in Sweden, the hosts did surrender possession at times, but they looked more than comfortable in doing so, while they broke well. Despite having plenty of the ball, Hertha failed to do much with it, as they managed to fashion just one real opportunity. You could say that they’re likely to do more on their own patch, but with more important things to focus on, that’s absolutely no guarantee. Frankly, at the prices, backing the visitors, who’re bidding to win the group, with the insurance that ‘Draw No Bet’ provides, makes much more appeal than backing the hosts to win a game that really does mean little to them.
An additional selection ahead of this match is ‘Saman Ghoddos to Score Anytime’. Ostersunds’ Iranian forward has thrived of late, as he notched against Zorya last time out. Against a Hertha back-line that could be quite relaxed, the lively forward is unlikely to go without chances. Backing Ghoddos to notch his third of the competition makes plenty of sense.
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