29 players from 14 different countries with one goal: keeping Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga! Exactly 40 days remain for our boys in blue and white to make it happen – six games, more to the point, four of which are against direct opponents in the relegation battle. The first of these crunch ties: Mainz away on Sunday (18 April, 18:00 CEST). "We know what to expect there. Mainz have an incredible mentality. We have a lot of respect for them – we need to go there and fight for the points," said head coach Pál Dárdai, stressing the importance of the game.
The aim for the clash against Mainz is clear: Make a winning start to the remaining games. Preparations for this task began on Tuesday afternoon as the players took to the Schenckendorffplatz for the first session of the week. Dárdai and his coaching colleagues demanded a thorough warm up à la Henrik Kuchno and worked on the team’s possession game in various match scenarios. Concentration levels were high as Niklas Stark, Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Co. got straight to work, but the players were visibly enjoying themselves, too. "We’ve got some long weeks ahead of us, so we were able to work on our possession game today and improve or sharpness," said the boss, whose team face a trip to the fifth best team from the second half of the season on Sunday.
Midfield duo available again – Boyata training individually
Ahead of the encounter with Bo Svensson’s side, Dárdai has two midfielders back from suspension at his disposal in Lucas Tousart and Vladimír Darida. Aside from Rune Jarstein (coronavirus), Dedryck Boyata (muscle strain), Luca Netz (metatarsal break) and Eduard Löwen (muscle problems), there were no further absentees or injuries to report this week, so Dárdai was able to take 25 fully fit players to training. "We’re giving Rune some time – he has to get fully better first and complete all the necessary checks before going back to training. Lucas is a lion, we need him to play so much. If he stays fit, I will be using him," said Dárdai. Captain Boyata is also working individually again as his muscle strain recovery takes shape.
Five days remain for the boss and his colleagues to prepare the team and reach a decision regarding the squad and starting XI for the trip to Mainz. "I’m expecting the team to keep growing – we can only do that together. In terms of body language, we’ve got a real group of leaders in Schwolow, Stark, Khedira, Tousart, and also Córdoba. On top of that, we’ve got some real artists who can decide a game. The team as a whole is the most important thing," the 45-year-old reiterated.