Things can change very quickly in the world of football, which is shown not only by the results each week on the pitch, but also when it comes to the players. This is clearer than ever for Hertha’s third signing of the summer, Stevan Jovetić. On Monday, the striker travelled to Austria where he completed medicals and fitness tests alongside talks with Fredi Bobic, Pál Dárdai and Arne Friedrich. On Tuesday morning, the move was made official as the 31-year-old stood on the training pitch wearing the blue and white stripes of the Old Lady! “I can fully identify with the club and its goals, which is why I was very keen to join Hertha from the start. I’m delighted that everything went so well with the transfer!” said Jovetić in his first interview following the move. The 55-time international for his native Montenegro also discussed the Bundesliga, teammates with a Hertha past and his attacking qualities.
herthabsc.com: Stevan, 'Grüß Gott' as they say in Austria, and welcome to Hertha BSC! What was it that made you decide to make the move to Berlin?
Jovetić: Thank you so much! I had some very good talks with people here at Hertha, especially with Fredi Bobic. He told me all about the club and its goals. Pál Dárdai also informed me of his plans and expectations. I can fully identify with all of them, which is why I was very keen to join Hertha from the start. I’m delighted that everything went so smoothly with the transfer!
herthabsc.com: What was your knowledge of the Old Lady like beforehand? Did you discuss Hertha with Jürgen Röber, who gave you your debut in the Serbian SuperLiga as a 16-year-old in 2006?
Jovetić: I knew beforehand that Hertha BSC is a club with a rich history and tradition in Germany. I watched a few matches last season because Nemanja Radonjić is a good friend of mine (grins). When the move became concrete, I also spoke with Kevin Volland and Matija Nastasić, which made the move even easier for me. I didn’t actually speak with Jürgen Röber, but he was a great coach and played an important role in my career. After all, it was under his guidance that I got my first experience of professional football.
[>]I had some very good talks with people here at Hertha, especially with Fredi Bobic. He told me all about the club and its goals. I can fully identify with all of them![<]
herthabsc.com: You’ve played in England, Italy, Spain and most recently in France. What similarities or differences have you experienced between these top leagues in Europe?
Jovetić: Naturally, each league is a bit different from the others. In Spain, it’s more about pure football, having fun and scoring as many goals as possible. In Italy, it’s much more tactical and the priority is always stopping the opponent from scoring. If you manage to score a goal, great. But if not, you can still pick up a point. In England and France, the game is a bit more physical.
herthabsc.com: What attracts you about the Bundesliga?
Jovetić: It’s the only top league in Europe that I haven’t played in yet. I’m looking forward to a new challenge here with the amazing stadiums, passionate fans and top conditions. Old teammates I’ve spoken to have told me that the football here is most similar to the football in La Liga. The teams do a lot of running but want to play good football and score goals.
herthabsc.com: At Partizan Belgrade you won the league and the cup, while you won the Premier League in England with Manchester City. In addition to that, you have won Footballer of the Year in Montenegro twice. Which of these awards means the most to you?
Jovetić: All of these titles mean a lot to me. I was just 17 years old when I won the double with Partizan. It was something very special for the club after a long dry spell, not to mention how special it was for me as a young player. After that, I wanted to do something new, something bigger, so I made the move to Italy. After some great years in Florence, I went to Manchester City and was again able to become champion with a club that had had to wait a long time to win a trophy. I learned a lot from David Silva and Sergio Agüero there too. Of course, I’m also very proud of my individual trophies, but I couldn’t pick out one title above any of the others.
herthabsc.com: Returning to Hertha, the priority this season is having a more stable campaign than last year. How do you think that you will be able to help the team in achieving this?
Jovetić: It was a really tough situation that Hertha found itself in at the end of last season, but the club defied the odds to achieve Bundesliga survival. I’m certain we’ll do better this season. I want to help the team with goals and assists, but also with all of my experience right from the off! It doesn’t matter where I play; I’m comfortable in any system and with one or two men leading the line up front. I would say that I play best in the number ten role.
[>]I’m certain we’ll do better this season. I want to help the team with goals and assists, but also with all of my experience right from the off![<]
herthabsc.com: The team has been in pre-season training since the end of June and will play the first match of the season in less than two weeks. How have you kept fit over the summer?
Jovetić: After the end of the season in France in late May, I took two weeks off then I started training again. I’m in good shape, but of course I need to train with the team. When I make my debut is down to the coach. In any case, I cannot wait to make my debut in the Olympiastadion. It will be my first time playing there and hopefully I’ll be able to play in front of our fans!