DROBNY BOOST FOR BERLIN
Hertha Berlin goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny is confident of being fit for Thursday's UEFA Cup trip to Metalist Kharkiv.
The Bundesliga side travel to Ukraine looking to build on their 1-1 draw at home to Benfica in their opening game in Group B.
Drobny has been struggling with a calf injury which kept him out of last weekend's 5-1 drubbing by Werder Bremen.
But the Czech stopper returned to keeper training on Tuesday, as well as receiving extensive treatment on the calf, and hopes to replace Christopher Gang between the posts in Kharkiv.
"I am feeling a lot better," he told the Berliner Kurier. "I hope that I can play. But I don't want to take a risk. We still have to wait and see.
"There (in Kharkiv) we will decide whether I can play or not."
If Drobny does not recover in time, Gang will be looking to fare better than he did on his debut when Hertha slumped to their heaviest defeat of the campaign.
And the back-up keeper insists he will be ready if called upon, saying: "I am training as though I am going to play."
Thursday's clash is likely to prove just as tough as his first outing, though, as Metalist boast a potent forward line in Brazilian Jaja, already into double figures for the season in all competitions, and Marko Devic, the top scorer in Ukraine last term.
Maximilian Nicu is Hertha coach Lucien Favre's only other injury concern, with the midfielder also suffering from a calf problem.
Despite last weekend's heavy defeat, Hertha have for the most part looked impressive on their travels this season, winning three out of six away from home in the Bundesliga.
But they will need to be on top of their game to improve that record against Metalist, for whom the game will be their first in the group.
The home side lie second in the Ukrainian league and showed their potential by defeating Turkish giants Besiktas in the first round of the UEFA Cup.