There was a lot of hope that survival would be secured at home on Saturday evening, to bring a stress-free end to the season, so the disappointment was equally big when it did not happen. “We really hoped we could finish the job at the Olympiastadion and then celebrate with the fans – it didn’t happen,” said Marcel Lotka after full-time on Saturday. With hindsight, though, there was a now-or-never mood in camp rather than resignation and anger as training got started on Tuesday morning. “We know the weekend didn’t go how we wanted it to, but we still have everything in our own hands and that’s how we’ve started training this week: We’re believing and trusting in our strengths completely,” emphasised our goalkeeper following the end of the session.
Seven Herthaner miss out, three return
Dongjun Lee, Kélian Nsona (recovery), Lukas Klünter (shoulder), Dedryck Boyata, Myziane Maolida, Linus Gechter and Anton Kade (all ill) were all missing from the near 80-minute session on Tuesday. Niklas Stark and Marvin Plattenhardt, on the other hand, were both on the pitch and completed a running session – Alexander Schwolow worked individually with Hendrik Vieth. Marco Richter, Vladimír Darida and Stevan Jovetić, who had been doing partial work last week, all returned to full training. Davie Selke had to leave the pitch early as a precaution due to a minor thigh issue. Following a team talk from Felix Magath, the team set out on an intense warm-up led by Werner Leuthard, followed by a set of two-touch passing drills overseen by Mark Fotheringham. To finish, Magath gave some more words of encouragement to his team, seeming to set the right tone: the three-on-three drills which came next were ones full of energy going forward, Fotheringham saying “Bravo, lads!” many a time as they went on.
Taking the final step with positive energy
The energy in the session day will need to be replicated in the next few days, so that the team can make a successful final step away to Borussia Dortmund on the final day this Saturday (15:30 CEST). “Despite the less-than-ideal results we’ve had in the last couple of weeks, we’re going into the game in a positive mood and we’ll do all we can to secure safety by ourselves against BVB,” said Lokta, looking ahead to the most important game of the Blue-Whites’ season.