Predictions, debate and excitement from the fans and the media, it can only mean one thing. Derby weekend! Pál Dárdai, however, does not want to involve himself in all the speculation and prognoses. Our head coach is focussing on what he and his coaching staff can influence ahead of the fixture against 1. FC Union on Saturday (18:30 CET). “We are looking forward to a great game of football and are expecting a proper fight. We have to throw ourselves into the derby,” explained the Hungarian in his press conference on Thursday. Director of sport Fredi Bobic, full of anticipation, expanded: “A local derby is something special. We can be proud that there is a derby in Berlin, it’s a unique feature of the city.” Here are the two’s thoughts on...
...what the local derby means:
Pál Dárdai: We should be glad that two Berlin teams are in the Bundesliga. That’s what we should focus on. On Monday, the fans will go back to work and it’s about who has to congratulate whom and who will have to listen to it for about two weeks. That kind of thing is a part of the occasion (he grins). That’s motivates us as we look forward to a great game of football and expect a proper fight.
Fredi Bobic: A local derby is something special. We can be proud that there is a derby in Berlin; it’s a unique feature of the city. I am looking forward to experiencing it. A derby has a special meaning for the fans of both clubs.
... Stevan Jovetić:
Pál Dárdai: If ‘Jove’ tests negative in time, he will decide how many minutes he can play. But if he doesn’t, we are prepared and we won’t use his absence as an excuse. We have Ishak, Davie and Kris who are all ready.
...the role of mentality:
Fredi Bobic: Our team’s development is positive. We have changed the outcome of games this season due to our mentality, even against teams that are perceived as bigger than us. Now we are looking ahead to a derby against a team that will also battle hard. We have to give our all and we will do just that. It’s cold and grey outside so our boys will have to work hard (he grins).
...possibly going in as favourites:
Fredi Bobic: Are there ever favourites in a derby? Not for me.
Pál Dárdai: Neither team goes in as heavy favourites. Hertha are clearly ahead in the all-time Bundesliga table, in normal times we have higher attendances and have dominated for years at youth level – we have a good history. I’m happy that Union are playing in the Bundesliga as it’s good for the city, but we are a bit ahead of them. Even so, congratulations and respect for their performances so far.
Fredi Bobic: We were in agreement in our talks with the state government and with Union Berlin that we should be able to have a capacity crowd with supporters having to be vaccinated or recovered. There are rules and we will stick to them. Stadiums are not seen as places that drive up infection rates and that has been confirmed. For that reason, I think it makes sense to give the fans a chance to come to the stadium. Of course we will follow the rules, but it also goes without saying that there are discussions about this topic.