Slowly but surely, the wait is coming to an end. Our Herthaner have made it to Day 11 of their two-week quarantine, and will be able to return to training at the Schenckendorffplatz on Friday (30/4/2021) to begin preparations for Monday night’s Bundesliga game at 1. FSV Mainz (18:00 CEST). “I’ve been left with a good impression. All the players are ready and want to be back training together. They really can’t wait!” said Pál Dárdai. During a virtual press conference on Monday, our head coach spoke about...
...teams returning to playing after quarantine: There are both positive and negative examples. Some clubs win their first games after coming out of quarantine, while others lose theirs. We have experienced this once before already, and will know where we stand after two, three games. We’re staying optimistic and will do everything we can to pick up points from the six games we have ahead of us. It’s in our own hands. Too much speculation now won’t do us any good. We will need to work hard.
...Mainz’s win against FC Bayern: We’ve seen Mainz’s performances each week and the numbers they put up in terms of ground covered, challenges won and how hard they press. They are second in the form table for the second half of the season. All this will make it a tough task for us. However, we’re Hertha BSC and will have chances of our own in Mainz, which is the mindset we’re taking into the game. In my opinion, Mainz aren’t relegation candidates. They are a very physical team, and their coach Bo Svensson has managed to motivate them to give it their all. They look good, and are a team that presses their opponents. We are heading there with the goal of taking at least a point back to Berlin.
[>]The match in Mainz isn’t an endgame for us just yet. We aren’t letting what’s happening externally affect us. We currently have three games to make up, and are short four points.[<]
...the situation in the table: We’re all human and are guided by logic: none of us would have thought it illogical that we’d be in 17th place, having played three games less. That seemed relatively obvious to me, which is why I’m not really surprised. Mainz winning against Bayern wasn’t something you would have expected. Every team is capable of serving for surprise and picking up points. The most important thing for us is that we take at least four points from these three rescheduled games, which would be enough to put us out of the danger zone based on goal difference. If we manage to pick up more points, that’s even better (grins). We also need to win our home games against our direct competitors, as these are real six-pointers for us. There’s no excuses. We need to, and will, win these games, that’s my mindset. We’re continuing to stay calm and not allowing any panic to seep into our work. The match in Mainz isn’t an endgame for us just yet. We aren’t letting what’s happening externally affect us. We currently have three games to make up, and are short four points. This is an entirely achievable task. What matters most to all of us is that we stay in the Bundesliga this season.
...analysing the opponents with his players: We’re planning on doing this on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. That’s why I can’t really speak much to this topic right now. However, it’s a great mental exercise. The lads have all watched the games and are thinking about it, which is going to help us.
...the state of the team: We trained hard over the first few days, and perhaps we even did a bit too much. Several players were complaining about having sore muscles and muscle pain. Afterwards, we spoke to them and since then we’ve been training just once per day. These sessions are a bit longer and focused more on football. The lads are happy. I talk to them regularly over FaceTime. I’m left with a good impression. All the players are ready and want to be back training together. They really can’t wait!
[>]We will have three training sessions ahead of Monday’s game. We will train on both the large and small pitch, in order to score goals, see some action and to challenge the players’ reaction time. Our final session will be focused on tactics.[<]
...his contact to the players: Naturally, I’m spending a lot of time on the phone, which I also enjoy doing. I’m at home and can see the lads over FaceTime, which helps us to get through these long days in quarantine. If I were spending the entire time watching football on TV, then I’d be going crazy (laughs). Of course I’m waiting for the day when I can finally go outside again. On Wednesday I will hopefully test negative and then I can go and air out the dressing room, before the players return on Friday. That will be nice.
...the plan for the upcoming days: We will have three training sessions ahead of Monday’s game. We will train on both the large and small pitch, in order to score goals, see some action and to challenge the players’ reaction time. Our final session will be focused on tactics. We don’t want to overwork the lads this week, because we have a tough end to the season ahead of us. The body has to be prepared to return to the pitch after a 14-day break. We will need to be careful. We want to be able to go from zero to a hundred in Mainz, and will need to read the game and make substitutions based on that. It’s important that we’re all honest with one another in order to minimize the risk of injury. After all, we don’t just have this game ahead of us, but six in total still to play, which will determine whether we’re in the Bundesliga next season.
…Marvin Plattenhardt and Dodi Lukébakio, who both tested positive: I spoke to our team doctor, Hi-Un Park, on Monday. Both still don’t have permission to exercise. After their quarantine is over, ‘Platte’ and Dodi will both undergo a thorough medical check. If they’re given the green light after that, then they will be able to begin training again. We will of course have to approach this situation with care, as their health is our priority.