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.
- Best player from your team this season?
Top 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
- Worst player from your team this season?
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.
- Good performances from a player that went largely unnoticed this season?
Per Ciljan Skjelbred
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.
- Most underrated player in your team this 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.
- 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.
- Best goal scored by a player in your team this season?
Mathew Leckie (Hertha BSC 2-0 Bayern Leverkusen, Berlin Olympiastadion)
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.
- Your teams best performance this season?
RB Leipzig 2-3 Hertha BSC, Leipzig, Red Bull Arena
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.
- Your teams worst performance this season?
Hertha 0 Mainz 2, Berlin, Olympiastadion
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.
- Most crucial goal your team has scored this season?
Salomon Kalou 90+1min (Augsburg 1-1 Hertha BSC)
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)
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.
- Best signing your team made in summer 2017 or January 2018?
Valentino Lazaro (again!), Davie Selke
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.
- Worst signing your team has made this season? If any?
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!
- Any memorable assist by a player for your team this season?
Arne Maier and Marvin Plattenhardt (Hamburg 1-2 Hertha BSC)
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)
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.
- One leader from your team?
Vedad Ibisevic (c)
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.
- A player who started regularly for your team this season that you just wish fucked off?
Mitchell Weiser (AGAIN!)
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.
- Any unfair decisions go against your team this season?
Offside goal for Hoffenheim
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
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
- Best passer in your team?
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.
- 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
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.
- Sack your manager at the end of the season. Yes or no?
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.
- Any player(s) you missed this season? Whether sold, Injured or even suspended for a crucial game.
Lazaro and Plattenhardt vs Wolfsburg
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?
- Do you have any statistics to show, whether it’s team or player?
Hertha, the only club undefeated against Bayern 2017/18.
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.
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.
- You can only pick one position that you can improve on this summer. Which position are you picking?
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.
- Your favourite player is?
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 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.
- How many players do you need to become a top team?
Signings? Maybe 3-4?
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
HAHOHE! HERTHA BSC!