Santiago Ascacíbar looks at Dodi Lukébakio.
First team | August 4, 2021, 01:50 PM

Six players return to training before Meppen game

Our team has returned to the capital! After a day off on Monday and a Tuesday focusing on individual performance, Hertha’s buildup to the start of the regular season began on Wednesday. Today also marks the first time this season that Hertha have used their regular training pitch at Schenkendorffplatz, after the pitch was relaid. The regular rhythm of the football season starts here for head coach Pál Dárdai and his team, with four successive days of training before the first fixture. Dárdai has his eyes on the first round of the DFB-Pokal, but is happy to be back after the last few weeks: “We have got through our preparation program. I’m in a positive mood, and I have a good feeling, as the lads have left a positive impression”, said the 45-year-old before the fixture with SV Meppen on Sunday (15:30 CEST).

Along with our return to competitive football with the first round game in Emsland, there was also a familiar face back on the training ground. Our former captain Vedad Ibišević has rejoined the club as an attacking coach. On his return, Dárdai said: “Vedad knows what it means to be part of Hertha BSC. I’ve always enjoyed working with him and I look forward to working with him further. If we have a period where we don’t score many goals, he can give the players psychological advice, as he has been stuck in that rut as a striker before and successfully got himself out of it.” Ibišević was not the only man returning to the Hertha side.

Photo gallery: Training begins before the DFB-Pokal game against SV Meppen

No injuries for Hertha players

Three of the Blue-and-White’s Olympians have returned to training – Lucas Tousart, Arne Maier and Jordan Torunarigha have all rejoined the squad before the start of the season. As well as these three, Kevin-Prince Boateng (fatigue control), Dedryck Boyata (muscle problems) and Santiago Ascacíbar (concussion) have all returned to training after recovering. “All the players who were at the Olympics have come back fit and healthy, but we want to see how they react to the physical load. Dedryck should hopefully be able to train for the whole week, and is also doing some additional session, whilst Santi has been given the green light”, said the head coach, who was also looking forward to having greater squad depth. There are two players missing: Matheus Cunha, who is part of the Brazilian national team for the Olympic final, and Luca Netz. The 18-year-old talent is in Mönchengladbach for a medical.

Cunha and Netz will not be a part of the squad for the next few days. The squad will be split into two groups on Thursday, before reuniting for Friday and Saturday and travelling to Lower Saxony to face the 3. Liga side Meppen in the DFB-Pokal. “It’s going to be a proper cup tie – these games are always tough. Statistically we have always started the season well, and we want to carry on that trend.” New signings Stevan Jovetić and Suat Serdar will be a help to the team: “Stevan is a phenomenal footballer, and if he stays fit he will help us. Suat has fit into the squad really well; it feels like he has been here for ten years already. I want him to play more offensively here, and that will help his own game as well as the whole squad. He looks to get up the pitch quickly after his first touch.” If he doesn’t do that, then Dárdai and Ibišević may have to take a closer look at him.

It’s going to be a proper cup tie – these games are always tough. Statistically we have always started the season well, and we want to carry on that trend.

-Pál Dárdai

by Hertha BSC