Fitness testing on Wednesday and Thursday morning, two focussed training sessions at Schenckendorffplatz and finally a journey to the Wörthersee Cup in Klagenfurt – there has not been a winter break to speak of so far for the Blue-Whites. Sandro Schwarz is fine with that. The head coach is keen that his team keeps developing. “All in all, we are moving in the right direction as a team without seeming too pleased with ourselves because they are still certain things that we can do better and have to do better. We’ve built a stable base and have developed well, but there is still a way to go,” was the balanced assessment of the head coach speaking to the media after the end of the season.
Before the journey to Austria and the further fitness tests, the Mainz-born man emphasised his excitement about “these three weeks and the opportunity to really put the hard yards in with the boys again and hone our game.” This hard work has been the basis for the feeling of togetherness that there is in and around the ‘Old Lady’. “The fans can sense that we give everything on the pitch every time and can come back, even if we make a mistake here or there. This feeling gives you strength and a picture of the club. It makes the hard work every day worth it,” suggested Schwarz. herthabsc.com has summarised the key comments from the 44-year-old on...
… the mood in the camp after the final game of the year against Köln:
Finishing the year off with a win was enormously important for us. We will take the positive scenes and the feeling of having 60,000 people right behind us with us and carry this with us until the competitive game. It is important for us to stay clear about how we play and to look at things in a nuanced way – regardless of how many points we have or where we are in the table. We definitely could have picked up more points at this point. Alongside the effort that we’ve put in, we’ve been our own worst enemies at times, which was frustrating at the time. It was important for us that as a group we dealt with these setbacks, and we have proved our resilience.
… the development of the team:
At the moment we are analysing images and data from the game, both in terms of team tactics and individual. Making adjustments using this information will be the emphasis of the coming weeks. We’ve built a stable base and have developed well, but there is still a way to go. Defensively, we have been allowing too many crosses and attempts from inside the box; this will definitely be an area to work on. Offensively, we have attacked well following turnovers, but especially in the final third there is still room for improvement. These are the things we’ll work on before the Bochum game. All in all, we are moving in the right direction as a team without seeming too pleased for ourselves, because they are still certain things that we can do better and have to do better. You can see and feel that we have built an identity for ourselves. We play football with conviction. We are not pleased, however, with the number of points we’ve picked up.
[>]We’ve built a stable base and have developed well, but there is still a way to go. You can see and feel that we have built an identity for ourselves. We play football with conviction. We are not pleased, however, with the number of points we’ve picked up.[<]
… his impressions of the club:
I feel completely at home here and it is fun to work at Hertha BSC! The atmosphere, support and communication is excellent. To feel the support from the fans is good for everyone and it gives you a lot of energy. Our work is being recognised and to create happy memories for people is also always further motivation. We said to the boys from the beginning that it is very important, how we go about our work. The fans have a good sense of this. As a result, it is not just about your position in the table. The fans can sense that we give everything on the pitch every time and can come back, even if we make a mistake here or there. This feeling gives you strength and a picture of the club. It makes the hard work every day worth it. This creates an identity right through the club where we all know where we stand.
… expectations for the rest of the season:
The expectations that we set ourselves are extremely high – without necessarily being measured only in points. If people say after the last matchday: “That is Hertha BSC – that’s exactly how we imagine them,” then that is a more important yardstick for us. The table is also obviously always extremely important, but we should want to define ourselves less just by a certain number of points than by what has got us to this point. That we are already perceived as a counter-attacking team is good, and shows that we have enormous quality in this area. But our aim is also to develop further, especially in possession and in being more dangerous and more precision in our attacking play.
… the upcoming weeks of winter preparation:
I’ve experienced a long winter preparation twice before in Russia. You have the opportunity to go into the specifics more on certain topics with single players. There is also the opportunity to take steps forward as a team tactically. This meant we decided to initially stay in a similar rhythm to during the Bundesliga season alongside more training sessions with a higher intensity. I am looking forward to these three weeks and the opportunity to really put the hard yards in with the boys again and hone our game. Every day that I see the players working it shows me how much they want to take in our way of playing on board. It has been like this since the first day. To have the feeling that the boys also want to play football this way makes me happy. Those are the kinds of moments as a coach when you know that you are moving in the right direction.