Seasons round up: Some fun courtesy of Twitter

So someone on twitter created a thread in which the goal was to quote tweet your answer to sum up the season your team has had.

Here were the questions and my answers with some elaboration as to why for Hertha BSC.

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Team 2017/18

  1. Best player from your team this season?
    Valentino Lazaro

    46-106809579Top Talent: Valentino Lazaro has been a monster in midfield, scored twice and assisted numerous times this season


    After recovering from injury at the very beginning of the season, Lazaro came into the side a month or so into the season and it was clear from the very start that he was going to be very comfortable in Berlin. He was initially on loan from RB Salzburg and it was seen to be a good investment when Preetz announced it, but it proved to be a fantastic investment when Lazaro started to consistently create chances and play as a total professional and a valued member of the team. Preetz announced that “Tino” would be signing on a permanent basis in January on a long term contract and the reasons were pretty obvious when Lazaro showed incredible skill in a game away to Werder Bremen where he nutmegged a defender and rounded him to set up Ibsisevic in the box who unfortunately missed.
    Lazaro is extremely quick, a pacy attacking midfielder with an array of skills who has not only created and assisted a number of goals as well as scoring a delightful goal against Leverkusen (A game in which he also hit the bar, or rather Bernd Leno tipped a shot onto the bar in a 2-0 win). Lazaro also equalised against Hamburg when Hertha were 1-0 down.
    But he also showed his defensive skill against Koln when Mitchell Weiser, who’d had a poor game in the first half, was substituted for Mathew Leckie who took up the right midfield position, pushing Lazaro into the vacant right back position. He put into a number of fantastic blocks and challenges showing his defensive strength and determination and what’s more with ALL this talent he’s still only 22 years old and is already an Austrian champion and Austrian international. He’s got a bright future and he’s chosen to spend his time for now in Berlin, and Hertha is lucky to have him

  2. Worst player from your team this season?
    Mitchell Weiser

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    Not good enough: Mitchell Weiser’s commitment is being seriously questioned.

    It’s actually rather sad when one of your best players of the previous two seasons suddenly plummets dramatically to become your worst.
    Mitchell Weiser was a promising right back with a lot of talent and speed but for some unknown reason this season he’s gone totally limp and it wasn’t just for one match, but for a number of games. There are currently multiple rumours circulating about this future as his father is a coach at Bayer Leverkusen and his release clause comes into effect this summer (despite having a contract until 2020), he could be off to Leverkusen in this summers transfer window.
    Whether or not he’s distracted by the thoughts of a Leverkusen transfer, in a bad frame of mind or whether he’s just lost his touch is begging question. Think of Leon Goretzka moving to Bayern from Schalke at the end of the season. Everyone knows about this move yet his effort and commitment has not changed in a royal blue shirt. Weiser on the other hand is not just putting in poor performances but is becoming consistently lazy and lax, and according to reports even in training his effort is becoming minimal as he runs behind his teammates in sprinting exercises despite being one of the fastest players in the squad.
    Weiser has been at fault for a number of goals this season but the most noticeable was in the game against Koln in which he allowed the ball to roll and inevitably reacted too slowly and limply to Leonardo Bittencourt as he connected with the ball and Weiser almost clattered into Rune Jarstein in the process as the ball went past them both and into the back of the net. Weiser’s decision making and effort was questionable, as it was obvious when the challenge he could have and should have put in should’ve been made. His general reaction didn’t help either as he seemed unmoved by the error and during the rest of his time on the field he looked totally unfazed. When he failed to latch onto a ball he could easily have reached which had been switched from the opposite flank, the fans booed him. It was obvious he could’ve reached the ball but he’d chosen not to. That’s partially why he’s one of the worst players of the season. He’s been creatively impotent, defensively lacking and just plain poor. His exit from the Koln game spoke volumes and Pal Dardai has been openly critical of him. It’s not just a performance problem but an attitude problem.  When a right winger does your job better than you and he’s not technically suppose to be a defender, it says everything.

  3. Good performances from a player that went largely unnoticed this season?
    Per Ciljan Skjelbred

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    Linchpin: Per Ciljan Skjelbred has been with Hertha since 2015, quietly bossing midfield


    To be fair, Skjelbred has been putting in great performances for years now but hardly anyone ever speaks about it because he’s a quiet operator.
    He’s certainly not known for scoring goals or attacking flare but Skjelbred’s defensive ability and holding role go relatively unnoticed when ultimately he’s the linchpin in central midfield as the defensive part of the centre that includes Darida as the attacking variant of the duo. Darida is the attacking minded player but should he fail to keep control of the ball are lose out in the middle, Skjelbred is a surefire option to win it back or hold the ball up in waiting for support.
    He may not be a goal scorer but his persistence is highly valued and so is his loyalty. Skjelbred is ever reliant for effort as well, very rarely does he allow anything to dislodge his belief even if he makes a mistake during a game. Having worn the captains armband on a number of occasions he’s also proven he’s capable of leading the team as well. The quiet master of midfield.

  4. Most underrated player in your team this season?
    Mathew Leckie

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    Aussie Magic: Mathew Leckie scored a brace on his debut against VfB Stuttgart on the opening matchday of the 2017/18 season


    Pacy Mathew Leckie hadn’t scored for previous club Ingolstadt in the entirety of last season when the club was relegated from the Bundesliga. Hertha signed him in the summer and his introduction to Berlin gave him a new lease of scoring life, scoring twice in the opening game of the season and against Leverkusen at home. But whilst his scoring has dropped off slightly and he’s been more reduced to a substitute, his efforts have still be consistent. Leckie has a powerful shot, he’s also right footed but has scored most of his goals this season with the left (Not bad). His pace is his biggest attribute but when he’s not scoring goals he’s ensuring he’s doing his best to set them up by putting in as much as possible to find successful passes and options as possible. Long balls are something Leckie seemingly enjoys and always makes an effort to latch onto them. Whilst he’s not the star of the team and not a consistent performer, his contributions when he has played have at times been of high praise and high quality.  His move to Berlin seems to have revitalised him. His goal against Frankfurt was also not an easy one to score and he coolly slotted it past the home keeper.

  5. Most overrated player in your team this season?
    Mitchell Weiser (Again)
    Not much to add here apart from the fact that Weiser was and still is highly rated in Germany as a top defender but if his current performances are anything to go by he really shouldn’t be. Whether his poor performances are linked to his state of mind regarding a summer transfer we may never know but either way such a move shouldn’t be disrupting his current occupation in Berlin.
  6. Best goal scored by a player in your team this season?
    Mathew Leckie (Hertha BSC 2-0 Bayern Leverkusen, Berlin Olympiastadion)

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    Schoen: Leckie’s goal vs Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin was one of the best Hertha strikes of the season

    Leckie scored three times in a row at home for Hertha in the opening games of the season. His first two against Stuttgart in the first home game of 2017/18 were impressive but his left footed (weaker foot) hit against Leverkusen was one of the best goals of the season.
    The ball was played into Leckie who took it in his stride into the box, into the right hand corner where he cut inside and smashed the ball with his left foot into the top corner of the net. Leno had no chance and the opportunity wasn’t a particularly easy one to take but take it he did.

  7. Your teams best performance this season?
    RB Leipzig 2-3 Hertha BSC, Leipzig, Red Bull Arena

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    Unbelievable: Hertha beat RB Leipzig 3-2 away despite being down to 10 men for 80 minutes

    Hertha’s away form last season was more than abysmal. They lost 7 in a row on the road a new record set by Pal Dardai and lost to the likes of relegation strugglers at the time Hamburg. The away form was so poor that no one expected it to be any better this season as the poor away games hindered the chances of qualifying for the Champions League after a strong 2016/2017 Hindrunde. The home form kept Hertha’s European hopes afloat and they eventually qualified for the Europa League (Only to crash out at the group stage) whilst opponents RB Leipzig, already despised for the manner in which they reached the Bundesliga, reached the Champions League the previous season by winning in Berlin against Hertha 4-1 in Berlin.
    No one truly believed going into the game that Hertha would come away with all three points against such a strong opponent however after 6 minutes Davie Selke scored against his former club… and he wasn’t worried about showing his delight in doing so as Leipzig has shelved him the season before.
    Matters were not helped for Hertha however, when Jordan Torunarigha was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Timo Werner, in which it appeared both players clashed and the tackle was a 50/50. Down to 10 men for more than 80 minutes, Hertha pressed more and more and eventually got a second thanks to a header from Salomon Kalou and the 10 men were flying when Selke added a third.
    Whilst Leipzig pushed for a response late on they could only muster 2 goals as Hertha went on to win the game 3-2  and it could’ve been worse for Leipzig when Selke hit the post, which denied him a hattrick. The determination even after the red card which could’ve automatically demoralised the team and forced them to sit back and defend, had no such effect, instead Hertha went at the game head on and outplayed the Red Bull outfit for the majority of the game even with a man less. The desire of Selke to score against the club that had let him go in the summer and stripped him of opportunities the previous season was obvious and his commitment throughout the game as unquestionable. A come back is always tough but to win in such style when reduced to 10 men before 10 minutes has even passed is something admirable as the team attitude shone through.

  8. Your teams worst performance this season?
    Hertha 0 Mainz 2, Berlin, Olympiastadion

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    Double Nope: Robin Quaison scored twice in Berlin after a pathetic display from Hertha

    I, nor any other Hertha fan, likes talking about this game. It’s something we’d rather just forget in one of the early home matches against relegation threatened Mainz in 2018. After a decent 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund the previous home game it was out of the question that Hertha should not win against lowly Mainz but perhaps it was that attitude which was the death sentence against the 05ers. The game from Hertha’s perspective wasn’t just poor, it was diabolical. No chances created, seemingly no desire to make a change, the body language of the players was just all wrong and technically on the field Mainz were just as poor, just extremely lucky. They took the few chances they created, where as Hertha created zero chances. Even Pal Dardai stated in the post match press conference that it was the worst home game he had seen in Berlin since he took over as coach and that there was absolutely nothing positive to take from the game… nuff said.

  9. Most crucial goal your team has scored this season?
    Salomon Kalou 90+1min (Augsburg 1-1 Hertha BSC)

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    Leaving it more than late: Kalou equalised against Augsburg away, in the 91st minute

    It wasn’t a goal that saved the club from relegation or a game winning strike but Salomon Kalou netted a 91st minute equaliser away to Augsburg which secured a point to take back to Berlin. The game had been pretty poor from both sides but Kalou’s desire to get the goal showed as he netted with what was almost the last action of the game and more of a sigh of relief than anything else.

    Salomon Kalou 81mins (Freiburg 1-1 Hertha BSC)

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    Redemption: Salomon Kalou equalised from the spot in Freiburg despite missing a penalty just a few minutes earlier

    Kalou struck late against Freiburg as well for yet another draw but this time is effort was more difficult despite being from the penalty spot. Kalou had already taken a penalty in the game and so had Freiburg but whilst Freiburg had converted their spot kick Kalou hadn’t. In fact he hadn’t just missed, he had skied it in one of the worst penalty misses in the Bundesliga this season.
    However Hertha were award another kick from 12 yards not long after their first and an unquestionably brave Kalou found the courage to place the ball on the spot and attempt to take again. This time, it had the desired out come. Relief for the players and fans and redemption for Kalou in a tough match up against a side similar to Hertha in style and points and who at the time were playing remarkably well.

  10. Best signing your team made in summer 2017 or January 2018?
    Valentino Lazaro (again!), Davie Selke

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    Tag team: Selke (left) and Lazaro (right) both joined in the summer of 2017


    Lazaro has already been spoken for but joining him in Berlin was the equally young Davie Selke who joined from RB Leipzig in the summer and like Lazaro sat out the first part of the season with injury. However just like Lazaro, Selke proved himself to be a worthy investment as he scored his first goal in the Europa League and then his first Bundesliga goals followed.
    Selke is tall, quick and skilled but his goals come from all forms. He can header the ball strongly, he can latch onto loose balls and he can muscle his way through defenders but he’s also the perfect strike partner for Ibisevic. Whilst one is a finisher, Selke is more than that, he has the pace that Ibisevic no longer has, the two have different playing styles. Selke is also visibly passionate. Whenever opportunities are missed which he has been the deciding factor in, his frustration is clear to see but luckily he lacks the dangerous and explosive fire in attitude of Valentine Stocker, who moved back to Basel in January. That sort of centre forward is much needed at Hertha. Selke can score be he can also set others up with his own skill and pace. Interestingly enough his feet and head are seemingly as powerful as each other. He could be a German international in the future, he certainly has the talent. What’s more his fearlessness against his former team Leipzig was to be congratulated. When he scored for them against Hertha last season, he celebrated but didn’t seem anywhere near as thrilled as he clearly was when the scored for the Berliners against RB in 2017. Selke himself stated, when asked if he would celebrate against Leipzig if he scored, that the only team he would never celebrate a goal against would be Werder Bremen, where he began his professional career and of who he has the most amount of love and respect for. Davie Selke is a young, cheeky chap with a hell of a lot of talent and a great larger than life personality who hopefully will stick around Berlin for years to come and develop with Hertha BSC and of whom was one hell of a bargain in the summer.

  11. Worst signing your team has made this season? If any?

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    No weakness: Karim Rekik was one of four signing in summer 2017 but none have failed at their task

    Hertha only made four summer signings and all have been a success at the club since they arrived under the management of Pal Dardai. Mathew Leckie, Karim Rekik (Who has been a marvellous replacement to John Anthony Brooks), Davie Selke and Valentino Lazaro have all had great seasons. Perhaps the only bad signing was the promotion deals which now include main sponsor Tedi!

  12. Any memorable assist by a player for your team this season?
    Arne Maier and Marvin Plattenhardt (Hamburg 1-2 Hertha BSC)

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    Assist Kings: Arne Maier sets up the second and match winning goal (Kalou) against Hamburg SV at the Volksparkstadion

    Hertha’s away form last season was notably poor. Dardai was the coach responsible for setting a new club record of away defeats in the season 2016/17, so no one really considered the fact, especially after the up and down season and poor Europa League campaign as well as the Ruckrunde curse, that Hertha may be a threat away from home. Inclusive of the fact Hamburg were fighting relegation and had just introduced a new head coach that game, Hertha were rather expected to mess the game up, even though it was certainly one they could take points from.
    And that’s exactly how it started. Hamburg were 1-0 up at half time and Hertha hadn’t taken their chances however two goals, one from Kalou and one from Lazaro and a dominant second half display, showed exactly why Hamburg were threatened with relegation and gave Hertha a deserved 3 points at the Volksparkstadion.
    The talking point however was the manner in which those goals came about. Two excellent pieces of work provided Lazaro and Kalou with their goals for the day. The first was a pinpoint cross (as well as some questionable defending from Hamburg’s backline) from Marvin Plattenhardt, who’s recently been named in the Germany 2018 World Cup squad alongside Koln’s Jonas Hector as the teams left backs. Plattenhardt’s cross was precise and carried the perfect weight for Lazaro to be able to latch onto it and slot it past the Hamburg keeper that day, Julian Pollersbeck.
    Pollersbeck, who had earlier denied Vedad Ibisevic with some top notch goalkeeper (as he would go on to do throughout the game), had no chance with Lazaro’s strike.
    Likewise, the decisive winner came from Salomon Kalou who was set up after some trickery and fantastic footwork but a determined youngster Arne Maier.
    Maier was introduced to first team action after an injury to Vladimir Darida towards the beginning of the season. Maier slotted into the role comfortably and become a steady defensive midfielder capable of attacking play as well. His work lead to a perfect through ball to Kalou who simply slotted home past Pollersbeck to give Hertha the 2-1 lead that would see the game out.
    Both assists were typical of the Hertha style of play.  Hard work and effort that luckily had an end result

    Genki Haraguchi (Hertha BSC 2 Bayern Munchen 2, Berlin Olympiastadion)

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    Come back on: Celebrating a comeback, Ondrej Duda (Left) scored after an incredible assist from Genki Haraguchi (right) against Bayern Munich


    Genki Haraguchi would go to spend the second half of the season in Dusseldorf on loan for more playing time but his set up for the first goal for Hertha at home to Bayern Munich would be considered by some as ‘assist of the season’.
    Hertha, 2-0 down at the time, stepped on the gas after Lewandowski’s goal that added to first goal by Mats Hummels in the first half. Carlo Ancelotti had just been sacked at Bayern and Willy Sagnol was interim manager of the Bavarian team. Everything looked to be going smoothly, but immediately after the restart from Lewandowski’s strike, Bayern didn’t have time to even catch their breath. Hertha went on the attack, having already started the second half brightly. Haraguchi was already lively when he picked the ball up from a pass from the right wing, as he managed to weave his way through the Bayern defence past 3 German internationals. His tricky footwork was too much for likes of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng as Haraguchi slipped easily past them and then unselfishly passed to an open Ondrej Duda who tapped in was unmissable range.
    It was Duda’s first goal but all came from the work of Haraguchi, who’s assist that resulted in a goal, would be the prompt for a comeback.
    Hertha began pressing. Kalou had shots on goal to no avail, when eventually a foul in Plattenhardt range mean an in swinging free kick into the box. The cross was actually poor, but an error of  judgement but Bayern’s new boy Tolisso allowed the ball to drop directly to the feet of Salomon Kalou who didn’t miss and from 2-0 down Hertha drew the game 2-2, keeping as well earned point in Berlin.

  13. One leader from your team?
    Vedad Ibisevic (c)

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    Leader: Ibisevic was chosen as Hertha captain in 2017


    Despite the inconsistency of starting, performances and captaincy this season, Ibisevic is a player that has proven that even if he is not scoring he is still leading on the pitch. It was his leadership as captain against Koln that saw Hertha claim all three points after the changes made at half time and Mitchell Weiser was replaced. Ibisevic is said to be a player, in the words of his friends on his native Bosnia, that would cry after a loss because he took the defeat so personally. His tough life, surviving and escaping the bloodshed in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian war, only strengthened his mentality and the gift of the captains armband actually calmed his more aggressive side. The captains armband was handed to Ibisevic in 2016/17 from Fabian Lustenberger. It seemed to work as Hertha finished in a Europa League group stage place, above the finishing spot of the season previous.
    Ibisevic is a passionate player and it shows in performance as a captain. Whilst he is capable of keeping it cool due to the responsibility the arm band brings with it, he’s not afraid of letting his feelings known. He’s level headed enough to be encouraging to the team, even if his own performance is lacking.

     

  14. A player who started regularly for your team this season that you just wish fucked off?
    Mitchell Weiser (AGAIN!)
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    Nuff said surely. If Mitch doesn’t want to be in Berlin any longer than he should be encouraged to leave and it seems Dardai has the same belief.

  15. Any unfair decisions go against your team this season?
    Offside goal for Hoffenheim

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    Life’s not fair: Nico Schultz (Top right corner) is clearly offside when the ball in played through, 2 seconds later a penalty was given


    It’s not good to blame the referee for incidents on the pitch but sometimes it has to be done. Even with VAR the final decision is left open to interpretation from the referee.
    The game between Hertha and Hoffenheim in Berlin was scoreless when the referee gave a dubious penalty for a trip in the box. Unfortunately for Niklas Stark there was no sympathy for him as he’d committed the ‘foul’ as a result of slipping and sticking his leg out to actually get back up, but what’s more frustrating was that the ball was passed to Nico Schultz, after Stark had touched the ball, but who still was involved in build up play who had been collecting the ball after coming from off the pitch to receive it, which would have put him in an offside position.
    The referee claimed the offside call was non existent because Stark had been involved too and the next phase of play had begun rendering the offside out of the question but the ball would have reached Schultz anyway and he was still active. The foul was committed after the offside, so shouldn’t have even stood. You can argue or agree with the referee it depends on how you look at it

    Red Card Jordan Torunarigha vs Leipzig

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    “What?!”: Marvin Plattenhardt is livid as youngster Jordan Torunarigha is sent off against RB Leipzig


    If ever there was an unfair call it had to be Jordan Torunarigha’s red card in the 8th minute of the game in Leipzig.
    Timo Werner may be quick but his clash with Torunarigha was certainly a 50/50 in which both players clattered and tangled their legs whilst going for the same ball. Whilst it could’ve been deemed a foul from either side, it was Werner that got the benefit of the doubt. Although 25 yards out the referee had decided the block denied a goal scoring opportunity although it clearly didn’t and sent Torunarigha off. Young Torunarigha remained calm but fellow defender Marvin Plattenhardt was clearly livid at the referees unfair decision.
    The challenge wasn’t brash or clumsy, it was simply a tangle of legs but Werner didn’t care, he back chatted and mouthed at the officials and Leipzig got a break through without even scoring however it would be them who were left scratching their heads as they lost the game to 10 man Berlin 3-2

  16. Best passer in your team?
    Marvin Plattenhardt

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    Precise: Plattenhardt is renowned for his set pieces, dead ball shots and assists


    Plattenhardt’s talents for ball distribution haven’t gone unnoticed by German national team head coach Joachim Loew. Plattenhardt is set piece and dead ball specialist who’s Bundesliga goals have all come from free kicks. Despite not scoring this season, he has been crucial in a number of them as the assist provider including from corners and free kicks as well as open play. Plattenhardt’s preciseness allows the likes of Kalou to get their chances at goal and along with Lazaro assists and chances from both wings are frequent for Hertha.

     

  17. With only a few weeks of the season to go, what are you hoping for come end of May? E.g. could be playing for pride, win the FA cup/UCL, or stay up
    Europa League tiny chances, Pride for as many points as possible

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    Dreams… probably not: The 2017/18 Europa League campaign was not a success


    It has to be mainly pride. Hertha’s final game of the season is against RB Leipzig and their is a planned fan march entitled “The march of tradition” on match day which speaks volumes about the mixed feelings over the new digital marketing strategy as well as the animosity towards Red Bull and Leipzig. To beat Leipzig could also mean the possibility of keeping them out of the European spots all together, as they just lost 5-2 to Hoffenheim at home in the match day just passed.
    The pride aspect wouldn’t just be for Berlin but for traditional clubs as well.
    There’s a tiny outside chance if the clubs above Hertha also now fail to win their next games, a Europa league playoff place is possible but whether fans want to go through the process of the play off again is another matter, especially after the disaster of this years group stage campaign.  At the end of the day the fact it’s against Leipzig, the club that the majority of clubs despise, and the fact Hertha could potentially prevent them reaching European football again, that makes the final match day worthwhile.
    Hertha’s main objective even this season, was to survive and now that’s been done (Mathematically impossible to be relegated), going out on a high against a club everyone hates is the priority.

  18. Sack your manager at the end of the season. Yes or no?
    Absoutely…No way!

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    Herthaner: Pal Dardai spent his entire playing career at Hertha, he has now had 3 consecutive top table finishes as a manager


    Since Hertha have had a successful two Bundesliga seasons following surviving relegation in 2014/15, it means the expectation of the team has changed and risen. Some fans complain as they expect more… but this is Hertha, and the most we should be hoping for as be continue to build the future with developing the current and youth teams, is to survive and finish as high as possible.
    Since Pal Dardai became manager at the tailend of the the 2014/15 season in which Hertha were sitting in the relegation playoff spot, he not only saved the club from potential relegation but he crafted a well structured team that in its next season finished 7th in a Europa league playoff spot and reached the DFB Pokal semi final.
    The following season the club finished 6th having drawn at home against Bayern Munich in a match the team deserved to win, and beaten Borussia Dortmund and qualified for the Europa League groups stages. Dardai’s appointment of manager has been one of the greatest signings of recent years in Berlin as he’s given chances to youth players from the academy to shine on the pitch for the first team (The likes of Arne Maier and Jordan Torunarigha) and shaped a well performing team with good and traditional values. Dardai is also a Hertha man through and through having played almost the entirety of his career in Berlin for the “Alte Dame”, he coaches the team with discipline and he’s honest about his frustrations when things go wrong. A good coach is one thing but a good coach who has only that team in his heart is something else. He’s not a manager that should part ways with the club, not at all. Even if failure came, Dardai would still be a part of the club in some form. He could never leave entirely.

  19. Any player(s) you missed this season? Whether sold, Injured or even suspended for a crucial game.
    Lazaro and Plattenhardt vs Wolfsburg

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    Missing quality: Against Wolfsburg both Plattenhardt (left) and Lazaro (centre) were missing… and it showed


    John Anthony Brooks could’ve been a huge loss had he not been replaced with the equally talented Karim Rekik in the summer.
    Brooks was absent for the awful game between Hertha and Wolfsburg in Berlin. The vile weather didn’t help matters either nor did the absence of Marvin Plattenhardt and Valentino Lazaro.
    Plattenhardt missed the game through suspension after picking up 5 yellow cards in the season and Valentino Lazaro missed the match because he had been recovering from a cold.  The lack of pace in the game showed that there was something missing. There were limited crosses into the box from Hertha, as the two players most successful at delivering them were absent.
    The game ended goalless with limited chances for both sides but the lack of bite from Hertha was obvious and the return of Plattenhardt and Lazaro was a welcome one as they came back a week later against Gladbach and the chances created were far greater in number. Despite a loss it was far from the lackluster pace of the Wolfsburg game and then against Koln is seemed to work. Plattenhardt set up the winning goal and helped provide the cross that was half cleared when Selke finally smashed it in.
    Had they been on the pitch against Wolfsburg perhaps the game would’ve been a tad more exciting, who knows?

  20. Do you have any statistics to show, whether it’s team or player?
    Hertha, the only club undefeated against Bayern 2017/18.

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    Smashed: Kalou equalised for Hertha against Bayern Munich after being 2-0 down

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    The Berlin Wall: Bayern could not find a way through at home to Hertha, as they drew 0-0 at the Allianz arena

    Hertha first played Bayern Munich at a time when fans were 50/50 on the belief that it was a great time to play the champions. Some believed that the sacking of Ancelotti would only spur the Munich side on, who had a point to prove. Other’s believed that Munich would be all over the place in terms of organisation and that made them vulnerable.
    It would seem that the first half of the game determined that the former was true. Bayern were 2-0 in the 49th minute thanks to Hummels and Lewandowski but a quickfire response thanks to some unbelievable footwork from the Japanese international Genki Haraguchi and an Ondrej Duda finish, followed by the equaliser by Kalou to make it 2-2 on 56 mins showed that the optimistic supporters had been correct. Hertha were more than capable of taking on the big boys, although it’s wondered if Bayern simply fell apart because of the so called ‘crisis’ in the club at the time (as in they weren’t winning every game so they thought it was a crisis… yeah I laugh about that too). It showed character from Hertha who never allowed their head’s to drop, even against the giants and who fought back to celebrate a hard earned draw in Berlin… and I was there to see it.
    What’s more, there’s another record to be proud of, after the return of Jupp Heynckes. Jupp took Bayern back to the top of the table, clambering above an ever fading Borussia Dortmund side that looked completely out of place and  unsettled after the sacking of their own manager Peter Bosz (who ultimately deserved it for his inability to adapt his style to face different teams in Europe).
    Heyncke’s return stabilised Bayern who looked far stronger and emerged as the superior team in Germany once again under his guidance. No one gave Hertha BSC a hope in hell’s chance of leaving Munich with anything. Considering Bayern had defeated every other team they’d faced in the league at home under Jupp and especially since Hertha hadn’t beaten Bayern in about a decade (probably more than that) the belief that keeping the defeat minimal came into effect in the manner of thinking of the fans… the players had other ideas. Bayern had scored in every home game under Heynckes since his return… except this one.
    Although they can consider themselves a trifle unlucky, Bayern created chances but didn’t take them as well as an outstanding man of the match defensive performance from Jordan Torunarigha as well who made multiple goal line clearances preventing Bayern from scoring. It was a stellar defensive performance from Hertha who showed Bayern they could be matched. It left the Muncheners frustrated but gave the Berliners a deserved point. It’s not like the bus was parked either as Hertha had shots of their own but failed to really trouble the Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich.
    Rune Jarstein in addition to Torunarigha gave an outstanding performance in goal, preventing Arjen Robben from snatching a goal from not one but two on target free kicks and he came to the rescue on multiple occasions for Hertha. A rather exciting 0-0 draw meant that Hertha were the ONLY Bundesliga team not to be defeated by Jupp Heynckes as well as being a club that were undefeated to Bayern over the course of the season, with the last three games in a row ending in draws.

    Rune Jarstein… the only man to stop the man on fire.

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    “Absolutely not! No damn way!”: Rune Jarstein (and Jordan Torunarigha) put in magnificent defensive displays again Bayern in Munich, ensuring that Jarstein is the only keeper (as of April 2018) to stop Robert Lewandowski scoring at the Allianz Arena

    In addition to being undefeated against Bayern in the 2017/18 season, Rune Jarstein became the only keeper at that point, (and as far as I’m aware is still currently), to prevent Robert Lewandowski from scoring in a Bayern Munich home game. Lewandowski has scored at home against every single team in the Bundesliga this season except in the 0-0 draw against Hertha. Jarstein made saved after save over the course of that match and was on par with Torunarigha for the man of the match. Without them the result would’ve been a lot different.
    Lewandowski did score in the reverse fixture at the beginning of the season, putting Bayern 2-0 up, but the game ended 2-2. Jarstein’s performance ensured Hertha were undefeated against the champions this season.

  21. You can only pick one position that you can improve on this summer. Which position are you picking?
    Right Back

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    More than capable: Peter Pekarik is an established right back


    It looks a little inevitable at the moment that Mitchell Weiser will leave during the summer. Since his exist clause becomes active, Hertha can pick up a tidy sum for him and Preetz has already been looking into replacements. There are rumours that should Koln be relegated, Hertha are looking into buying defender Lukas Klunter. But as of now Peter Pekarik is playing the right back position in place of Weiser.
    Unhappy with his performance in the first half against Koln, Dardai replaced Weiser and apparently openly scalded him for his lack of fight and effort during the first 45 minutes. When he was replaced by Mathew Leckie, the game changed despite an inexperienced defensive wise Lazaro slotting into a right back-type position.
    The performance on the pitch and in training had been so poor apparently, it would seem Dardai tried to send the youngster a message by leaving him out of the game in Frankfurt (which Hertha won 3-0) all together. Weiser did not even make the bench for the game and Pekarik started in his place. If Pekarik, who’s contract runs until at least 2020 maintains his starting spot at right back, he currently has no back up if Weiser is to be sold, so one is desperately needed, preferably a youngster.

  22. Your favourite player is?
    Vedad Ibisevic

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    From refugee to national hero: Vedad Ibisevic survived the Yugoslavian wars to become a successful professional footballer

    I make it no secret that Vedad Ibisevic has been my favourite player for Hertha BSC since he joined in 2015/16. It isn’t just his mark as a player but as a human being also. Ibisevic is Bosnian, the country my family hails from, only unlike my family who came to England in 1948, Vedad and his family were present during the Bosnian war and had to survive then escape to safety in Tuzla, a safe zone.
    Ibisevic’s dream of playing professional football didn’t diminish. Despite the war being over Bosnia was not safe in the early 2000’s when Ibisevic and family moved at first to Switzerland and then to the United States where Vedad spent most of his teenage years. Ibisevic developed his skills as a footballer in the US, but when called upon for international duty only had his heart set on representing Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    He was recruited at first by Paris giants PSG, but failed… yet never gave up and moved to Germany to Aachen where he eventually broke through. From there he joined Hoffenheim and Stuttgart where he was an immense success as a striker, reaching double figures in goals each season for both clubs in the seasons he spent there.
    Ibisevic did however have the trait of a true Balkan native with his unpredictable temperament, in which hot headed reactions saw him sent off a number of times.
    When he moved to Hertha he picked up where he left off, becoming top goalscorer in 2016/17 and being handed that captains armband for that season. He was an impact player with a lot of heart and love for the game. Having had to fight to survive, he is now a major success in the football world and what’s more his goals internationally gifted Bosnia the opportunity of playing in their first ever world cup finals, with Ibisevic scoring not only the goal that took them to Brazil but also their first ever goal in the finals against Argentina (despite a 2-1 defeat).
    Ibisevic scored in the home game of 2016/17 against Bayern, the victory was only denied by a 97th minute equaliser but Ibisevic’s unquestionable dedication to the team is continuous even though the current season has been turbulent.

    Davie Selke

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    It’s all heart from here: Davie Selke goes ballistic after scoring the penalty to put Hertha into the lead in Frankfurt again Eintracht.

    Davie Selke began the season 2017/18 late due to injury but once he returned his impact was magnificent. Selke was exactly the type of player Hertha needed, quick and agile and able to head the ball as well as strike it.
    But Selke’s likability is one of his greatest assets.
    It seems to me that his experience last season at RB Leipzig (Where he scored twice against Hertha in their match in Berlin and wasn’t overly celebratory about it even though it guaranteed Champions League football for Leipzig), it was not a pleasant experience for him in Leipzig. Although he was a huge factor in their promotion for the Bundesliga, the Red Bull outfit practically shafted him for their debut Bundesliga season and didn’t seem particularly bothered about the thought of losing him to another club. Whatever happened behind the scenes at Leipzig prompted Selke to make the switch to Berlin where it would appear his skill and his work rate are far greater appreciated.
    He scored in the Europa league and Bundesliga in two losses, but towards the end of the season has come up good in wins against the likes of Frankfurt away and Koln at home. Selke’s has shown determination in the games he’s both started and been brought off the bench.  He’s skillful and not afraid to show it but more than that he’s passionate about the game, as can be clearly seen in his celebrations against Koln and Frankfurt where he was probably lucky not to burst a blood vessel from the screaming he was emitting. He was even openly celebrating Mathew Leckie’s goal after it was given from VAR review (offside review) in Frankfurt.
    Selke was in a battle with Frankfurt defender Hasebe all afternoon, it was he who gave the penalty away which Selke converted but it was Hasebe that would see trouble in the battle as he elbowed Selke in the face later in the match resulting in a straight red card. Selke needed medical attention after the game and sat out training for the following two days, but his reaction on the pitch was to get up and play on until the 86th minute, determined to carry on.
    Selke is slick, young, pacy, a goal scorer, but it’s his attitude towards playing in Berlin that makes him one of the players of the season. He seems to appreciate the support of the Hertha faithful and that’s more meaningful that simply scoring goals.

  23. How many players do you need to become a top team?
    Signings? Maybe 3-4?

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    Ambition: “The future belongs to Berlin”

    It’s hard to say but the midfield is aging and it’s time we started looking for backups as well as a new right back. With a midfield of Skjelbred, Darida, Lustenberger, Salomon Kalou, a new attacking and defensive midfielder would be good, although Arne Maier and Valentino Lazaro are more than good enough. A new striker perhaps too with Ondrej Duda yet to show his best and Vedad Ibisevic not getting any younger, its more than possible that Julian Schieber will be on his way out in the summer too as his contract expires. Selke is a bit of injected youth, but with only Selke, Ibisevic and Duda to choose from, an extra hand would be useful in the goal scoring department.
    Although defensively it would appear as though Hertha are relatively comfortable a back up or two would also be quite useful although we’re not short of talent in the youth sides, with players such as Florian Baak.

    It’ll be an interesting new season

Some pictures from the season

 

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HAHOHE! HERTHA BSC!

Bundesliga chatter box: “…and all the rest of it”

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So I’ve had several thoughts swishing around in my head for the past week or so and thought “why not just share them?”, after all there is much to talk about.
VAR is back in the headlines, Bayern become champions, Hamburg are FINALLY set to be relegated and protests over Monday night football are causing a stir. There’s been a new headcoach of Bayern announced but controversy over his appointment and the manner in which it was handled,  Schalke secured Champions League football for next season and my beloved Hertha saw their 1000th home goal scored.

Yes lots to talk about, lots to share your opinion on.

So why not… welcome to the Bundesliga chatter box, focusing on ALL of the leagues plot points with a zoom in on Hertha too. Chatter box was an appropriate title so, lets go!

“Endlich Zweite Liga”: (Almost) Lights out for Hamburg and Koln.

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Times up: Hamburg’s infamous “never relegated” clock may be about to stop ticking

With Hamburg suffering defeat at the hands of Hoffenheim and Hertha making a comback against a resilient FC Koln to take all three points, it looks as though the fate of the bottom two clubs in the Bundesliga is now sealed.
Both Hamburg and Koln had given themselves hopes of an unlikely great escape, when Koln defeated Leverksusen 2-0 two weeks ago, but a huge 6-0 loss to Hoffenheim the following week quickly dashed their hopes of a strong run out into the end of the season. Likewise, Hamburg had given themselves hope when they beat Schalke 04 by 3 goals to 2 in a topsy turvey clash, only to lose to the same opponent as Koln a week later (Hoffenheim) who beat the red shorts 2-0.

With Mainz winning their controversial (In more ways than one) clash with Freiburg on Monday night, it leaves Hamburg and Koln  8 and 9 points off the relegation play off spot with only 4 match days remaining. With only 12 points maximum possible from the last four games, provided they win all 4 of them they’d have to hope that Mainz, Wolfsburg AND Freiburg ALL lose their games this coming weekend which seems unlikely. Hamburg play against Freiburg, potentially they could give themselves some hope, but they’d have to hope Mainz and Wolfsburg also lose. Koln have to win, if they don’t they’re gone.  With three teams on 30 points as well it’s all about the relegation playoff spot. Koln have the near impossible task of winning all their games, hoping that these three lose all four and then beating Bayern along the way in order to succeed. Hamburg’s toughest challenge will be against Gladbach and Frankfurt, however they also need to rely on the three clubs on 30 points to have any chance of survival. As long as one of those clubs wins this weekend, Hamburg are all but gone and if all three of them win, they’ll be a second division side next season for definite. The first time in their long history, the arrogance of having a clock displaying the fact they are the only Bundesliga team to never be relegated in their stadium, that clock may be about to be dismantled and about to stop ticking. There is still a little hope to make the playoff spot for Hamburg but it’s tiny and this weekend is decisive for them. Both clubs have one thing in common on this journey though, and that is the fact they both lose to Hertha BSC in games they simply HAD to win to stay up. Koln more so, but the chants from the Berliners in Hamburg of “Endlich Zweite Liga” (Finally the 2nd league!) said it all and Hamburg fans didn’t seem to disagree either. Both of those matches also saw the relegation threatened sides take the lead only for Hertha to turn it around and win the game 2-1 on both occasions having been behind 1-0 at halftime.
According to reports, Koln’s and Germany’s left back Jonas Hector, was left in the dressing room at full time after losing to Hertha in floods of tears as the inevitable loomed ever closer.

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Absteiger: Hector was left broken after defeat to Hertha, as Koln look certain to be relegated, and is consoled by Per Ciljan Skjelbred

For Koln it’s a sad way to go out as they’d showed such progress after the winter pause with an improvement in the teams displays on the pitch and some real hope in their derby wins against Gladbach and Leverkusen but when it really mattered the team just crumbled. Such a traditional club with fantastic fans and passionate support, is always a great loss, in both cases here with both clubs. Koln however have suffered this fate before and Hamburg have never experienced it, which makes you wonder how well the two teams will bounce back next season (Should they be relegated, there is still a tiny chance they won’t). Koln are believed to be capable of bouncing straight back as the club as experienced the fight for survival and pain of relegation before. Hamburg on the other hand have to adapt to the Zweite liga and calmly work their way back, because unfortunately with relegation comes the inevitability that players will leave the clubs. There are already rumours circulating that players from both clubs are in talks with other Bundesliga sides should the relegation happen. Hamburg will need to regroup and rebuild from a situation that no one associated with the traditions of the club has any experience in. For Koln it’s the simple question of “How will we go about it this time? but with Hamburg they need to find the middle ground and plant their feet their firmly in the second division before trying to bounce back up to the Bundesliga.

One small plus for Hamburg fans could be that, provided they don’t get relegated themselves, the local derby with St Pauli will once again be an almighty fixture. Whilst the Rivierderby between Schalke and Dortmund is fierce, politics are usually left aside as both cities are similar, however the political divide in Hamburg is still so strong that the Hamburg derby is sure to be one of the most fiery events of the season should both clubs be in the second division next year. Lets just hope St Pauli survive this season first and then the fans can look forward to one hell of a match up.

Bayern, Champions… for one reason: And it’s not Jupp Heynckes

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Meister: Bayern win their 6th title after victory in Augsburg

Bayern Munchen are champions yet again, for the 6th consecutive season (Surprise surprise, YAWN!), we all knew this months ago but the belief that it was all down to Jupp Heynckes re-appointment as coach is not well founded. In fact Bayern probably still would’ve won the league with Carlo Ancelotti still in charge and his dismissal was unfair, a few rocky performances and the players go into mutiny? It’s childish behaviour from the Bayern players that got him sacked and Heynckes appointed in the first place but the real reason for Bayern’s triumph is not simply down to Jupp’s magic touch… there’s only one real reason for that victory and it’s Borussia Dortmund and their epic downfall.
What’s more, Ancelotti won the title with Bayern last season, and the Bayern players and fans weren’t complaining back then, claiming he was the best coach in the world ect. Only when they suffered a defeat, as it they feel entitled to victory in every game that they play, did the fans and players begin to have considerable doubts about Ancelotti. Pretty much says it all.

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Hapless: Dortmund’s demise included a 6-0 (HT 5-0) away defeat to Bayern Munich.

Dortmund started the season extremely strongly, but Peter Bosz’s failure to adapt his winning formula too all the opponents Dortmund were to face meant that once the initial few games were played, teams had the opportunity to study the tactics. Instead of adapting his game plan Bosz approached every game in the same manner, and eventually other teams worked out his style, his tactics and his approach and were able to counter them and eventually to repel and defelct them extremely easily. The attacking style of play simply doesn’t work against some teams, Bosz failed to see that, and when under pressure he simply wasn’t able to come up with any answers, there was seemingly a state of panic. Then came his dismissal, and the introduction of Peter Stoger, who in all fairness as no better. The fact he had been fired from Koln having left them bottom of the table at Christmas with a one digit points tally didn’t speak in favour by the BVB board wanted stability. Whilst he did provide that in some way, the truth was that the overall performances were still just as poor as they were under Peter Bosz, the change had meant results had changed but Dortmund when they were victorious were only winning by a few goals and not looking at all comfortable in their success. Their failure allowed revitalised Bayern to over take them, but Bayern themselves were not the monster they had been in previous season even with Heynckes. They failed to beat Hertha Berlin at home even under Jupp’s guidance, all down to the fact that the Berliners knew exactly how to play against them and defended for their lives playing a fearless game. Other clubs had taken on the Bavarians, seen some success and then conceded and fallen apart. Rune Jarstein remains the only Bundesliga goalkeeper not to conceded to Robert Lewandowski in Munich this season, Hertha is the only team Heynckes hasn’t beaten but they’re mid table mediocre and not at all a threat to Bayern so there is proof that Bayern are not the dominant force they had been a few years ago under Heynckes. However the epic downfall of BVB is potentially the greatest factor that contributed to Bayern’s title win this season. Had Dortmund put in continuous displays, adapted their style and kept their composure and confidence that they showed in the opening 7 or 8 games we could well be looking at different champions this season. Unfortunately the mutiny that saw Ancelotti sacked, Heynckes hired and the falling apart of the yellows meant that Bayern earned their 6th title in a row, much to the dismay of fans of all other Bundesliga teams who are now just tired of it.

Kovac to Bavaria: Maths doesn’t add up.

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Return: Niko Kovac will return to Bayern Munich in July as their new first team head coach

The week that Koln lost to Hertha which could see the Effzeh relegated this weekend, and saw the Bayern draw Real Madrid in the Champions League, also saw the news that Heynckes would finally retire in July 2018, and that his successor would be the former Leverkusen, Hertha and Bayern midfielder, Niko Kovac, currently making waves with Eintract Frankfurt… sort of strange how after this was announced, Frankfurt went on to lose their game against Bayer Leverkusen 4-1.

But the manner in which the appointment was made has ruffled many feathers in the Eintracht camp, including their Sporting director Bobic, who openly criticised Bayern in the media for their handling of the situation.
Kovac has been somewhat of a phenomenon in Frankfurt in his first two full seasons. His appointment in 2015/16 saw him take over a side that was battling relegation in the playoffs of which they drew 1-1 in the first leg and were victorious in the second triumphing 1-0 and ensuring survival. Kovac was seen as a class act as he consoled the players of Nurnberg, who had just lost the chance to be promoted and kept Frankfurt in the top flight.
His next season would see Frankfurt become DFB Pokal finalists, however they lost to Borussia Dortmund 2-1 and the following season, this season of 2017/18, Kovac led Frankfurt to a potential bout in European football, leading them to the top 6 with the chance to qualify for the Champions League or more likely the Europa league.

It was always going to happen, with rumours of Hoffenheim’s young sensation Julian Nagelsmann and Dortmund’s former head coach Thomas Tuchel being approached. It later emerged that Tuchel had turned down Bayern’s offer and Nagelsmann had not even been approached but when Kovac was announced he claimed to have only been contacted a few days prior to the appointment. His claims were completely unfounded and torn apart by the revelation that Kovac had met with Bayern executives weeks before his appointment as their coach and the fact that the German sports magazine “Kicker” had known for days before the press conference that revealed his appointment about the approach Bayern had made to Kovac. Along with this the timing of the appointment has to be called into question from Bayern’s side too and it’s not the first time such a thing has happened. When Bayern signed Mario Goetze they announced the deal just days before Bayern played his current club at the time Borussia Dortmund. Bayern announced Kovac’s appointment a day before a game between Frankfurt and Leverkusen and just before Frankfurt’s game in the DFB Pokal semi final showdown with Schalke. As it turns out Frankfurt were victorious in their game in Gelsenkirchen, not in least thanks to some VAR controversy, to make it 2 DFB Pokal finals in a row for the Eagles. However Kovac’s success in reaching the final in Berlin means a double win for Bayern Munich, as if they win the club will have another trophy but if they should lose Bayern have means to justify their hiring of Kovac before he takes over. Is it a coincidence that Kovac is facing his future employers in the final? Maybe, but the pressure the prospect of  facing Bayern could put on him (Maybe even purposefully too) could see an extremely easy victory for the Munich side. No one’s suggesting Kovac would throw away the chance to win the final but the coincidence may just be one too far. Either way Bayern won’t be troubled and their treble ambitions are still alive.

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“Bayern are Disrespectful”: Fredi Bobic, the director of sport at Eintracht Frankfurt was not happy with Bayern’s attitude and handling of the appointment of Kovac

The problem circulates around Bayern’s approach to not only business but also their arrogance, influence and pressure surrounding other clubs as well. Kovac’s success at Frankfurt could mean they would potentially be a competitor for the future under his guidance. By poaching him, they have not only gained a coach but weakened a Bundesliga opponent. Additionally, Bayern prompted Kovac to put a 2.2m Euro buyout clause in his current Eintracht contract, so that if he did succeed as their coach he could easily be bought out of his contract only by Bayern. Much like loaning a player out, Bayern purposefully bound Kovac to their own club whilst he was at Frankfurt to test the waters before approaching him to fully employ him.  Frankfurt claim now that Bayern leaked the news before Eintracht was ready to release a statement, just as Bayern had been accused of regarding the signing of Mario Goetze. The round about way in which Bayern go about their business is not illegal, it’s totally legit but it does beg the question whether or not it is ethical, just as their fortunes and riches and ability to purchase players from their rivals in the league is questionable ethically. Such moves are not only making Bayern impossible to compete with in Germany but it’s making the Bundesliga a one horse race every season. Just how excited can you pretend to be when you’re so used to winning the title every season? Regardless, Kovac’s move to Bavaria is questionable, more so is the way that Bayern handled the situation. There’s no question that something isn’t right here but whether Kovac will be a success is another question all together. He has no experience in balancing out domestic and European competition with a squad as deep as Bayern’s, it could prove tough for him and if he’s not an instant success, will he just be cast aside?

What a bloody mess!: VAR Strikes Again

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What the…?!: Players from Freiburg surround the referee in the Monday night game in Mainz after an incredible VAR incident which led to total confusion.

VAR (Video assistant Referee) has not been popular in Germany since its introduction in the opening game of the season between Bayern Munich and Bayern Leverkusen.
The controversy over the use of the video referee, the lack of clarity as to when it should and shouldn’t be used, whether or not it undermines the importance and competence of the match referee, the wasting of time and the difference of opinion between referee and VAR have all been at the centre of the issue surrounding the use of the system, especially since it’s clearly not been mastered and yet is still being used at the biggest competition in the world at the FIFA World Cup.
The Monday night fixture between relegation playoff threatened Mainz and Freiburg, which was already under scrutiny because of the DFB’s decision to play matches on Monday’s (Which German fans are also firmly against) saw once again how VAR, despite being used to make the correct decision, was far from perfect in its use.
When Mainz were award a clear penalty, you’d think this would be grounds for VAR to be praised, however the penalty was awarded after the referee had blown the half time whistle and the Freiburg players were already inside the tunnel on their way to the dressing room with the score at 0-0.
Although the handball decision was ultimately correct, the VAR had taken so long to respond and make the referee aware that there was a potential penalty claim that the players were already preparing for their half time team talk.
The Freiburg players initially refused to return to the pitch in order for the penalty to be taken. Eventually they realised they had no choice, and did enter the field of play for the penalty which was dispatched successfully giving Mainz a 1-0 lead at half time. The referee blew the half time whistle immediately after the penalty was taken and scored, however the goal couldn’t be officially clocked as technically it was scored after the end of play.

On Wednesday the VAR was called into question again in the 2nd DFB Pokal Halbfinale between Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke 04. Not only was it used to send a player off from Frankfurt, but Schalke equalised in the 94th minute (into the 6 minutes of time added on), only for the referee to disallow the goal for a handball. Not only was the handball extremely questionable, but the referee blew just as the ball hit the back of the net and refused to either consult the VAR or to view the video screen for himself to review the decision, when the ball was controlled by and clearly struck the players shoulder, not his hand or any part of the arm. The refusal of the referee to review the decision he made again begs the question as to when VAR should be used and whether or not it is a huge problem in modern football, to allow the game to be disrupted because of a lack of organisation and clarity regarding the rules of using it. Meanwhile Frankfurt meet Bayern in the final in Berlin, as the Bavarian side thrashed Leverkusen 6:2 at the Bay Arena, and Niko Kovac who is set to join Bayern in July will face his new employers.

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Scheiss DFB!: Fans threw toilet roll onto the pitch and goal frame in protest of the DFB’s decision to play Monday night fixtures in the Bundesliga

Whilst the penalty decision was one matter the fans of both clubs took matters into their own hands regarding another matter from the DFB, which covers the decision to play Bundesliga Matches on a Monday evening.
Traditionally Bundesliga games are only played on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Football, according to German fans, is meant for the weekends, not for the working week.
The DFB claimed their reasoning for this was to allow teams competing in European competitions, especially the Europa League which takes place on a Thursday evening at 9:05 in Germany, to rest before their next Bundesliga match. However, although Freiburg did qualify last season for the Europa league qualification rounds, they lost and were knocked out at the qualification stage, therefore had no group stage matches at all. Mainz also had not made the the Europa or Champions League group stages, and this was confirmed before the season even started. However these two clubs were handed a Monday evening game so the reasoning of the DFB is irrelevant. Hertha BSC competed in the Europa league as did RB Leipzig. Hertha were not asked to play any of their matches on a Monday following the Europa League fixtures week. Their reasoning is basically a lie and the fans know it.
What’s more, the true reasoning behind the introduction of Monday night games is simple.
Money.
TV money. The league receives more money from their TV sponsorship’s if they show matches on a Monday just as it does in England. However, Germany with only 18 Bundesliga teams, only has an Englishwoche (English week in which midweek fixtures take place on a Tuesday and Wednesday and this is mainly because of the 7 week winter pause) every few months.
The Mainz and Freiburg fans took matters into their own hands, at first by staging a fans football match with supporters playing and supporting including both clubs ultras before their showdown on Monday evening. Then during the matches second half restart, the game had to be paused as fans behind the goal threw toilet roll onto the pitch, the goal mouth and goal frame, completing covering it. The delay was minimal and Mainz won the game 2-0 but the protests from fans are getting stronger and wider across all of Germany in regards to the continuous attempts to change the German game by the DFB, moving towards a more English type structure.  During a vote recently on whether the DFL should discard the 50+1 rule which stipulates all clubs must be majority owned by their own members, only 4 league teams voted against the rule. Fans were vocal about their opinions on the matter by creating choreo pieces and multiple banners for their respective ultras blocks in the stadiums, to support the 50+1 rule. Germans highly value their football traditions, especially the idea of putting the supporters first and having a supporter based football system. The VAR and Monday night games feel like an attempt to strip that away from them and they feel well within their rights to speak out and be heard.

 

Hertha chatter

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Hahohe:I am really sorry (to FC Koln)

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Erste Heimsieg: The first home victory of 2018 for Hertha BSC

Match day 29 saw the return of Hertha’s winning ways at home. They were without a victory in 2018 at the Olympiastadion with their wins all coming away from Berlin against the likes of Leverkusen and Hamburg. It didn’t help matters that Koln were on the verge of relegation, with fire in their veins and desperate to avoid the drop, their biggest hope rode on their match in the capital and things got off to a great start for the Effzeh.

Hertha’s last points at home had all been draws, with Dormtund, Wolfsburg and Freiburg all sharing points in Berlin. Hertha are notorious for having a weaker Ruckrunde and strong Hindrunde but this season the challenge of the Europa League matches balancing out a squad without the depth to compete didn’t help and proved to be difficult.

Koln took the lead despite Hertha having the better of the chances in the opening half. Bittencourt latched onto a long ball clearance by goalkeeper Timo Horn, of which Niklas Stark couldn’t win the header against striker Jhon Cordoba and Mitchell Weiser made a terrible error of judgement allowing Bittencourt to stick his boot onto the end of the running ball. Weiser’s limp effort to clear meant that Jarstein had no chance with saving it.

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Fighting chance: Leonardo Bittencourt was the man to put Efftzeh 1-0 up before half time

Hertha continuously had chances to score. In fact they could’ve taken the lead in the first minute if not for a very alert Timo Horn. Vedad Ibisevic’s goal drought continues as his lack of goals this season is seemingly beginning to bite. His effort can’t be questioned but his goals just won’t come. He had the chance to equalise twice but couldn’t make contact with the through ball and was denied, as was Salomon Kalou, by Horn in the Koln goal.

Half time came, the Berlin side were greeted with a chorus of boos from their own supporters as they exited the field for the dressing room. Dardai had work to do and he knew it. Just as in Monchengladbach the previous week, Hertha were creating chances, but no one was putting them. Hertha had ended the game losing 2-1 despite creating half a dozen chances and being the superior team in Gladbach, it looked like the same story was unfolding against Koln in Berlin.
It was also clear that Mitchell Weiser had to be replaced. At fault for the goal and lacking in attacking ideas it was no surprise when he was replaced by the pacy Mathew Leckie before the beginning of the second half. Weiser’s departure was not even acknowledged by the supporters but Leckie’s introduction was met with praise.
The changes worked. From the offset after the restart Hertha pressed and pressed down hard on Koln’s leaky defence. Although there are questions over whether the throw in that lead to the goal was actually a Koln ball, Mathew Leckie’s introduction changed the game as the ball switched to Plattenhardt on the left, wasn’t cleared by Koln only for Davie Selke to chest it down in the box and smash the ball beyond Timo Horn.

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King Davie: Davie Selke equalised to make it 1-1

Selke, like Ibisevic, has been struggling to find the net. He hasn’t scored since Hertha drew with Dortmund in the first game of 2018, and his delight showed here as he celebrated the end of his own drought. He’d be celebrating against a few minutes later, as again Plattenhardt crossed the ball into the box in what may have been a wayward shot and Selke latched onto the end of it, slotting it past Horn again and turning the game around. Selke would be the man to score a special goal, as it was the 1000th goal scored at home for Hertha BSC. Hertha later paid tribute to all the goal scorers that had contributed to the landmark throughout the history of the club.

 

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Special: Selke’s second goal was Hertha’s 1000th home goal.

 

Koln attempted to get back into the match, with Cordoba missing a number of decent chances, the best of which came right at the end of the match when he was one on one with Jarstein only to pull the ball a little too wide to make the angle tighter, then chipping it over the Berlin keeper but also over the net.
Hertha too had a number of chances which were squandered, down mainly to the hands of Timo Horn.
Julian Schieber, a fan favourite, was introduced as was Ondrej Duda, on for Ibisevic who put in a good shift and a decent display also from Kalou who helped set up the second goal. Schieber missed a good chance to score as Horn did just enough to put him off and the ball was blasted over the bar.
As a neutral the second half would’ve been a perfect match to attend with both teams going for the three points. Hertha came out on top however and deservedly so, overall they were the dominant team just as they had been in Gladbach only this time they were on the right side of the scoreline.

It would seem the atmosphere and tone set by the supporters at halftime which were extremely unsavoury prompted Dardai into action in the second half. He knew something had to change and he knew exactly what the problem was. Mitchell Weiser has been a weak link for Hertha almost the entire season, in contrast to his great input and performances last season.

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Wise Move: Australian Mathew Leckie (left) was brought on in place of an out of sorts Mitchell Weiser (right)

 

Not only had he been technically out of place but his entire attitude seems to have shifted over the past year. During the game against Koln he just looked totally unfazed and generally not bothered. Giving up on long balls, miscontrolling the ball and his mistake for the goal contributed to the early exit. It’s easy to see the moment he should’ve put the challenge in on Leonardo Bittencourt, the ball bounced and Weiser should’ve been much stronger. He’s got the pace, he’s one of the fastest players on the Hertha team but for some reason just completely slowed when Bittencourt ran ahead of him, his concentration lapsed and his effort was lame if anything. He should’ve been stronger, he could’ve easily stuck out a right leg and cleanly won the ball but his error of judgement instead led to a goal. Weiser’s suspected lack of effort isn’t a recent occurrence. He’s been out of sorts in a number of appearances over the course of the season and is now surrounded by rumours of a move in the summer as his release clause comes into effect. Weiser joined from Bayern three seasons ago, having assisted a Bastian Schweinsteiger goal to beat Hertha in his last appearance for the Bavarian’s which won them the title. He’s been key for Hertha up until his lackluster appearances this season, and now with a new agent it’s suggested he’ll move to Borussia Dortmund or most likely Bayer Leverkusen in order to play European Football next season, with Hertha likely to finish outside the European spots.
Regardless there is something not quite right with the Hertha right back. He’s a good defensive player and an even better attacking option than Peter Pekarik, who shares the position, but if the hearts not there and he wishes to leave the best the club can do is let him go and wish him luck.

Hertha BSC: Player of the season

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Hertha BSC 2017/2018

Even if they’re not regarded as players of the season in Bundesliga, they must be seen as two of the best bargain buys in the league. Davie Selke and Valentino Lazaro have had a massive impact on Hertha since they returned from injury in late 2017. Both signed from Red Bull clubs, less than 15m Euros was spent on the pair to bring them to Berlin.
Along with Mathew Leckie and Karim Rekik, they were two of just four signings Hertha made in the summer of 2017. Selke (23) and Lazaro  (22) are also two of the youngest members of the team this season.

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Impact duo: Davie Selke (left) and Valentino Lazaro (right) have taken strides in Berlin since returning from injury

Selke scored against Hertha when RB Leipzig played in Berlin last season which secured them a spot in the Champions League this season. Leipzig triumphed 4-1 in a game in which Hertha’s general play was abysmal, the only Berlin goal was an own goal by Rani Khedira (national team star Sami’s brother) and defensive errors and a goalkeeping mistake meant a nasty result. But Selke was released by RB in 2017, having been basically rejected and shafted by the Red Bull club in favour of Timo Werner, having only started 4 games for Leipzig club in 2016/17. Selke joined Hertha in 2017 but was forced to sit out the first few months of the season with an injury as was fellow signing Valentino Lazaro who had been signed from RB Salzburg and was an Austrian Bundesliga Champion.
Selke returned from injury on match day 8 of the 2017/18 season in a 2-0 home loss to Schalke 04 but quickly bolstered his confidence by scoring in the Europa League against Zorya despite losing the game 2-1. Selke scored again in a 3-3 draw against Wolfsburg but then put in a man of the match performance against his former club RB Leipzig by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory away from home. Selke wasn’t afraid to show his delight either, he stated Werder Bremen (his first club) would be the only club he’d never celebrate against. More miraculously, the game against Leipzig was made almost an impossibility for Hertha as Jordan Torunarigha was given a straight red card after 8 mins with the game scoreless. Hertha fought with 10 men and were 3-0 up before a late fight back from Leipzig but managed to hold on.
Selke scored against Borussia Dortmund in the first game of 2018 in Berlin.
He also netted twice to come from behind in Hertha’s 2-1 victory over Koln, Hertha’s first home win of 2018 scoring Hertha’s 1000th home goal on the process, an game in which he had multiple chances. Selke is quick, tall and skillful, you wonder if he had not been injured at the start of the season just how many goals he could’ve ended the campaign with. His partnership with Ibisevic against Koln also seemed to work with all three strikers Ibisevic, Selke and Kalou creating a stronger attacking unit.

 

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Berlin Hero: Selke scored twice against old club RB Leipzig in December, with Hertha reduced to 10 men for almost 85 minutes.

Much like Selke, Lazaro made a return from injury and was initially only on loan from RB Salzburg, however after several strong performances Hertha obtained his services on a permanent basis with a long term deal. Lazaro was voted the rookie of the month by the Bundesliga in March when he assisted and scored for the club. He has consistently been the best player on the pitch for the Berliners. Lazaro finally scored his first goal against Bayer Leverkusen in Leverkusen in a 2-0 Auswartsieg for Hertha. He scored again against Hamburg in a game yet again away from home which ended in a 2-1 win.
Lazaro is quick and versatile, a secondary option to Plattenhardt for set pieces with the right foot (Plattenhardt is left footed), Lazaro is also notably skillful, unbelievably quick, his technique and skills in a 0-0 draw in Bremen vs Werder Bremen were praised highly by football pundits.
But Lazaro’s strongest asset is his ability to assist. His crosses, like Plattenhardt’s, are pinpoint accurate and his ability to create space in dribble and work under pressure are notable too.

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Young blood: Young Valentino Lazaro has been an assist king and goal scorer so far this season

Another contender for player of the season should go to 19 year old Arne Maier, a graduate of the Hertha academy and who finished as top scorers in the U19 Championships for Hertha. Maier was drafted into the starting line up by Pal Dardai after an injury to midfielder Vladimir Dardia. Darida, an attacking style player with mid pace was forced out for months and replaced by the more defensive style Maier who assisted a goal against Leverkusen and Leipzig as well as almost scoring himself in the latter. Maier is a fearless defensive midfielder despite his young age, he’s confident and calm in his position and skillful as well as aware and alert, Maier is just one of a number of talents coming up from the youth system. The likes of Jordan Torunarigha, who had a man of the match performance along with Rune Jarstein against Bayern in Munich, have been successful in breaking through into the first team. Palko Dardai (head coach Pal’s son), Florian Baak, Sidney Freide, Maximillian Mittelstadt and Julius Kade are all talents to look out for in the future but Maier so far has been the success story with barely any errors during his appearances.

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Top talent: Arne Maier has progressed from the youth teams into a regular first team player.

 

Ultras vs Management: Talk, don’t hush!

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No talk: Hertha Ultras are unhappy with the management, but not willing to speak to them

If there is no dialogue between two parties, than how can one ever hope to resolve any problems they may have?
Over the past few season the Hertha’s Ultras groups have ceased speaking with the management and directors of the club, who have openly stated they are willing to talk, because they feel the direction the club is taking is not a good one. Claiming they feel they are not being heard, the ultras decided to stop speaking to the management of Hertha BSC instead of attempting to resolve their concerns about the future of the club. Most recently banners in the Ostkuve have appeared calling for Paul Keuter, the digital marketing director to leave the club, however the ultras have failed to take into consideration the benefits that digital marketing can bring to the club and the possibility that the use of social media could enhance the clubs global reach and popularity, piquing the interest of football fans in general. It’s not like Man City or Chelsea, who’s investments and massive cash fund have attracted ‘fans’ from around the global, but rather about making the club better known amongst the football community. The ultras refusal to listen to the opinions of the management has resulted in the cutting ties (although they’re still willing to accept money from the club). The problem is that without any dialogue from them, the ultras cannot hope to resolve their issues and concerns and cannot progress or make their voices heard. By being silent, they are achieving nothing and quite frankly, behaving like children that cannot get their own way and are sulking in the corner. The only way to resolve this problem is for them to speak to the management and although they may not like what they’re going to hear, they can at least share some of their own thoughts and ideas with the directors of the club. Keuter has been verbally attacked continuously over recent months, criticised perhaps unfairly by the ultras. Michael Preetz has already told the press he is not the one halting discussions with the Ultras, but rather that they that refuse to speak to him as he is willing to listen. Whilst their concerns over marketing ploys and campaigns and the fears of breaking traditions are well founded they have to understand that as times change, technology changes, perceptions change, that clubs most also change with these factors. Whilst they do not have to become slaves to advances in technology and the media world, they have to be aware of it and be aware of the advantages it can bring to the club, without potentially selling the clubs soul. With proper management it can be beneficial, keeping the traditions of Hertha BSC and its fans whilst developing in other areas and modernising in the way things are run within the club. So long as the club is cautious changes can come to Hertha without diminishing the proud traditions, history and heritage the club has. Last season it was the shirt colours that ruffled the feathers of the ultras, worried about the kit colour being a marketing ploy, this season it seems to be digitalisation that they are angry about. There is always something they are not happy with and you wonder if they’re just looking for something to complain about, but lack of dialogue will benefit no one. There are ways that the club can progress and remain traditional, it can be done and the club doesn’t have to sell its soul to be progressive.22426458_10155168825387569_7463886553622502289_ohertha-4_1516464250-768x432 (1).jpg