Soccer-With Eintracht's Kostic set to depart, Hertha fancy their chances


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Union Berlin v Hertha Berlin - Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany - August 6, 2022 Hertha BSC fans inside the stadium during the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Hertha Berlin got their Bundesliga campaign off to the worst possible start with a 3-1 defeat to city rivals Union but will look to make amends on Saturday against Eintracht Frankfurt, who they have beaten more times than any other team in the league.

Hertha have won 30 league meetings with Eintracht, losing 20, and will be hopeful of scoring another victory with their opponents set to be without playmaker Filip Kostic.

The Serbian did not play in Eintracht's 2-0 UEFA Super Cup loss to Real Madrid in Helsinki on Wednesday and is reportedly set to join Italy's Juventus in the coming days.

Eintracht have confirmed the player is in talks with another club, and Hertha midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng said this was a bonus for the Berliners.

Kostic was a key player in Eintracht's unbeaten run to the Europa League title last season.

"For us it is positive that Kostic will be gone," Boateng, who played for Eintracht in 2017/18, told a news conference.

"This is at least what I have heard and if he does not land here on Friday then we can say that it's a good thing for us."

Boateng said Saturday's match offered them the chance to make up for their derby disappointment.

"It is always difficult to lose a derby," he added. "Obviously we are disappointed and angry but it's good that we have a chance to make amends on Saturday."

The pressure is already on new coach Sandro Schwarz after losing their opener and crashing out of the German Cup first round to second-tier Eintracht Braunschweig.

Hertha narrowly avoided relegation last season.

"From day one he has brought in new wind," Boateng said of Schwarz. "He won't deviate from his course - to play aggressively in attack, go forward - that's exactly what we need. He trusts us 100%."

Eintracht are also out to make things right after being demolished 6-1 by Bayern Munich last week.

They have little time to recover from Wednesday's Super Cup loss, however, and coach Oliver Glasner is not happy with the scheduling.

"I would have wished a different day because we were representing the Bundesliga in Helsinki," Glasner said. "Now we have to go to Berlin on Saturday and play in 30 degrees heat."

The German capital will see unusually high temperatures over the coming three days.

Champions Bayern host VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday while Borussia Dortmund, last season's runners-up, travel to Freiburg on Friday.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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