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Crisis-hit Hertha desperate to avoid defeat

Haunted by the fear of relegation after last week's 5-0 demolition by VfB Stuttgart, Hertha reacted by sacking coach Michael Skibbe after he suffered his fifth defeat in five games in all competitions since taking took over in December.

Hertha, in 15th place just two points off the drop zone, are now looking for their third coach this season after Skibbe succeeded Markus Babbel who steered them back into the top flight but was then fired following a public spat over his contract.

Interim coaches Rene Tretschok and Ante Covic will be on the bench in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday hoping they can drag the 'Old Lady' out of this crisis.

"I have told my players to shut their eyes and imagine the game against the German champions on Saturday, 70,000 people in the stadium," said Tretschok.

"This goosebump feeling is what we want to achieve so that the boys do what they have learned to do and why they came to Hertha in the first place."

The Berlin side will have their work cut out against leaders Dortmund who are unbeaten in 15 league games and have won four of their last five away games.

The champions have not dropped a point in four Bundesliga matches this year, despite missing injured playmaker Mario Gotze, to surge two points clear of second-placed Bayern Munich.

"Dortmund have a fantastic team and they have a bit of a tailwind at the moment," said Tretschok. "But we will put our own strengths into the mix and then we will see what comes out.

"The spotlight is on us nationwide and it is important we present ourselves positively and also get a positive result," said Tretschok who won the Champions League with Dortmund in 1997.

Bayern, on 44 points from 21 games, travel to bottom club Freiburg on Saturday when third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, on 43, also visit lowly Kaiserslautern.