Jazira welcome second-placed and reigning Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain to Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium foran Abu Dhabi derby renowned as the biggest club game in UAE football.
The hosts aim to bounce back following last week’s 3-2 defeat to AGL leaders Sharjah.
With only four points separating both sides, Hertog expects another close encounter against their rivals and believes the home fans can play a vital role by being their ‘12th man’.
“Our home fans were disappointed by the result against Sharjah but we want to amend that by producing a winning performance at our own stadium,” Hertog said during his pre-match press conference.
“Our home fans are fantastic and they will be very important for this match especially as it’s an Abu Dhabi derby.
“Football is a team sport meaning that fans, players and coaches are in it together. We are all happy when we win but we are also sad when we lose.
“Our fans can give us an extra boost which will certainly help inspire my players even more to win the game. We all want to make them happy and proud and getting the victory in this Abu Dhabi derby is something that we are aiming for.”
Both teams also go into the clash almost certain in the knowledge that defeat for either would likely end their title hopes. Jazira, in fourth, are 12 points behind unbeaten Sharjah while the Boss are eight adrift with eight games remaining.
“Sharjah was a tough opponent, but Al Ain will be bigger test as they are the defending champions,” added Hertog.
Jazira will be without five players including defender Fares Juma (suspension) and attacking midfielder Leonardo (injured). However, Hertog believes there’s plenty of quality at his disposal that can help cause Al Ain problems.
“There will always be suspensions and injuries but Al Jazira have a strong, talented squad and not just 11 players. These absences are an opportunity for other players to step up and show their quality and help the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, midfielder Abdullah Ramadan believes his team-mates will give everything they’ve got to beat Al Ain.
“It will be a tough match against Al Ain,” said the 21-year-old Egyptian. “We have put the Sharjah defeat behind us and we know we have to play our best football against Al Ain which I’m sure we will do.”
Kick-off in Al Clasico is at 20:30.
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