As the players walked out at Schenkendorffplatz on time, just before 2pm on Tuesday, the eyes of Marco Richter, Niklas Stark and co. offered an insight into their mindset going onto the pitch for matches: Always looking forward, with no time to look left or right. A special challenge awaits Pál Dárdai’s men at the end of this week – a derby with 1. FC Union on Saturday (18:30 CET). “Let’s not beat around the bush here. We know how much this game means for the fans, everyone behind the scenes and the club as a whole too. We need to take that on and show that on the pitch, and we’ll give our all to do it!” said Jordan Torunarigha, laying out the team’s plan for the upcoming days.
Hertha Internationals and three others miss out – four train individually
After a morning’s work in the gym, the squad got some fresh air for around 80 minutes out on the grass. Head coach Dárdai was without four internationals in Dedryck Boyata, Linus Gechter, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp and Krzysztof Piątek, who will return either this evening or tomorrow, as well as Alexander Schwolow, Márton Dárdai (both ill) and Stevan Jovetić (Quarantine). Rune Jarstein (fitness), Peter Pekarík (small knee issue after national team game), Lukas Klünter (Shoulder) und Vladimír Darida (Thigh bone) all worked individually.
The 15 players out on the pitch listened to a short speech from their head coach, before working on passing drills to get used to different tactics and movements. Assistant coach Admir Hamzagić time and again reminded his players to be sharp in and accurate in their passing. As the session went on, the lads played a smaller-sided game, in which goalkeepers Nils Körber and Oliver Christensen took up outfield positions. The final 9 vs. 9 match on the full pitch focused on work with and without the ball. “It was a good start to the week. We sorted out what we’ll be doing this week in the dressing room. We’re fully up for the game and are really looking forward to facing Union,” said striker Davie Selke, giving an insight into the team’s inner workings.
Focus is on the League – no looking forward to the Pokal derby yet
Our Herthaner will get through several sessions in the next few days, in order to sharpen the players and lay the foundations for a successful derby. The fact that there will be three of these special fixtures this season, after our opponents were drawn to face us at the Olympiastadion in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 on January 19th 2022 (20:45 CET), has made no impact on the squad’s preparations for this away fixture in the Bundesliga. “Of course, we know what we have coming in the cup, but we’re not wasting any thoughts on it. We’re solely focusing on the game on Saturday and want to do everything we can to send our fans into the coming derbies in 2022 as happy as possible,” explained Maxi Mittelstädt, reflecting the ‘tunnel-vision’ approach the rest of his colleagues have going into the week.
[>]Let’s not beat around the bush here. We know how much this game means for the fans, everyone behind the scenes and the club as a whole too.[<]