Successful Conclusion of 2013?

20.12.2013, 12:36 Uhr von:  Redaktion

On Saturday, a not so fresh-faced team returns to Westfalenstadion. Until 2009, when Michael Preetz replaced long-standing Hertha general manager Dieter Hoeness, "The Old Dame", as the Berlin club are known, have been a yo-yo club. Last season, Hertha went up with a record-breaking 76 points, but Preetz's four-year reign has seen the club relegated twice, though they returned at the first attempt on both occasions. Their general manager avoided the sack, but Hertha BSC — and the Berlin media — probably demanded top-flight survival at the third attempt.

In fact Michael Preetz enjoyed a stability that has been lacking in the coach. Over the past four years, eight have tried their luck in Berlin's famous Olympiastadion but only two of them, Markus Babbel as well as current coach Jos Luhukay, stood for longer than a season. In the summer of 2012, Luhukay took over duty and joined Hertha from FC Augsburg, whom he had managed to keep in the Bundesliga against all odds. Right from the start he confirmed that his only goal was to return Hertha BSC to Germany's football flagship. Quite confident he told the media in July 2012, that "from October on, we will be unbeatable. When everyone has internalised my philosopy, this will be the case. Look it up. It was like that in Gladbach and in Augsburg." He ended up being right. From September 2012 on they lost only one match - against Dresden on matchday 24.

In general one can say, that Luhukay has a solid squad with Bundesliga experience he can count on. Before the current season Berlin only signed four players, especially Luhukay knows them from earlier in his career. By now the plan seems to come together. After 16 matchdays Hertha already gained 25 points that allow first tentative conclusions, that relegation battle has to do without the club in 2014. Only five times they left the pitch as losers: quite a feat. The match on Saturday won't be a walk in the park.

Black and Yellow Situation

While German tabloids prophesied the doom of Borussia Dortmund only a few weeks ago, BVB gained back momentum through the important wins in the DFB-Pokal (Saarbrücken) as well as in the Champions League (Marseille). Despite the depressing conversion of chances, even the draw in Hoffenheim (2-2) can be seen as a positive (unexpected) result, if you have a look at the current injury list. Considering this, a successful conclusion of the year 2013, which contained thrillers against Malaga, Madrid and a brilliant final against Munich, would be quite pleasant.

Once again Ilkay Gündogan will not be able to support his teammates on matchday 17, but according to Klopp makes great progress. Sven Bender, who was not able to join team training this week, as well as his teammates Jakub Blaszczykowski and Sebastian Kehl joined the Casualty Society on Wednesday evening. Whether Blaszczykowski and Kehl will be able to participate in 2013's last match, will be decided short-term. It is probably going to be a race against time. Pleasant news can be conveyed in the case of Marcel Schmelzer, who returned to team training after weeks of abstinence. Nevertheless, a starting berth would probably come way too early.

Meanwhile Jürgen Klopp told the German media that he is anything but in desperate need of a holiday. "Right now I don't think about the holidays, maybe I'll start after the match against Berlin," Klopp told yesterday. "Now it's all about giving all we've got. The injuries of Kehl and Blaszczykowski aren't that terrific, but the week was great in respect of training. Finally we were able to work with the ball again. I'm not excited about Christmas yet, by now it's all about winning the last match of 2013."

Klopp gave the impression that he as well as his team are warned about the effective Hertha BSC. "Their squad is brilliant and they've got a good plan in every match. Not long ago Berlin were struck by utter chaos but they dealt with it in a brilliant way. They got a quick transition and they are really disclipined in regard to their tactics. Berlin is an nasty opponent, we'll try to be even more nasty."

This is why Jürgen Klopp targets to allow Berlin not any small opportunity for their quick transition style: "We've to be focussed and get into the dangerous parts of Berlin's box. We cannot only focus on winning the ball and break fast. Hertha loves its style of play and they try to pull it through in any case. This is what makes them an challenging opponent," the coach said. "Nevertheless, I think it's time for gaining three points at home. In line with this, we'll deploy all our skills. We'll work ourselves into the ground."

Keeping these words in mind, it is our task to support our beloved Black and Yellow heroes once more in 2013. Winning against Berlin would mean to have gained 35 points after a long and hard first half of the season, simultaneously this first half would become the second best (!) since Jürgen Klopp came to Dortmund in 2008.

Possible Line-Ups:

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Großkreutz (Piszczek), Sokratis, Friedrich (Sarr), Durm - Sahin, Kehl (Kirch) - Aubameyang (Blaszczykowski), Mkhitaryan, Reus - Lewandowski

Substitute's Bench: Langerak, Schmelzer, Friedrich, Günter, Kirch, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek, Hofmann, Ducksch, Schieber.

Hertha BSC: Gersbeck - Pekarik, Lustenberger, Hosogai, Schulz - Cigerci, Niemeyer - Ndjeng, Ronny, Skjelbred – Ramos.

Referee: Gagelmann (Bremen)

Kickoff: 21th of October 2013 - 3.30. P.M. CET.

Attendance: Westfalenstadion, 80,645 (sold out)

Matchday Bets: You vs the Editors



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DerJungeMitDemBall, 20.12.2013

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