Season Preview 2014-2015: Hertha BSC

Nickname: Die Alte Dame (the Old Lady)

Founded: July 25, 1892

Club colors: Blue and white

Primary Rivals: None (sometimes 1. FC Union Berlin)

Fan Friendship: Karlsruher FC

Trophies:

  • German League (2): 1930, 1931
  • 2. Bundesliga (3): 1990, 2011, 2013
  • Intertoto Cup (5): 1971, 1973, 1976, 1978, 2006

Stadium: Olympiastadion Berlin (built 1934-36; renovated for the 2006 World Cup)

2013-14 Finishes:

  • Bundesliga: 11th place (41 points)
  • DFB Pokal: second Round

Top Goal Scorer: Adrián Ramos (16)

2013-14 Season Summary

Club Reputation

Hertha’s a tradition club that has never really been successful. They have been relegated twice since 2009 (2009/10 & 2011/12), leading to the “elevator team” appellation. They’re usually defeated by a lower-division team in the second round of the DFB Pokal. They had a run of being not bad in the late 1990s and early 2000s, even qualifying for European competitions, after a ten-year stint in the second and third divisions.

Reality

Coach Jos Luhukay kept Hertha from their third relegation in five seasons despite a lackluster second half of the season. Hertha finished the Hinrunde in a hard-earned sixth place with 28 points, but the players lost focus in the Rückrunde, earning only another 13. Hertha scored two against Bayern at the Allianz Arena and beat Borussia Dortmund 2:1 in the Westfalenstadion.

Philosophy

It’s hard to discern a philosophy from Hertha’s playing style. Luhukay mostly used a 4-2-3-1, with occasional switches to 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-2, both double-six and diamond.

Plan B

Luhukay and general manager Michael Preetz have looked to expanding the midfield and offense by adding midfielders Valentin Stocker (FC Basel) and Jens Hegeler (Bayer Leverkusen) and forwards Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Red Diamonds), Roy Beerens (AZ Alkmaar), and Julian Schieber (Borussia Dortmund). At the back, Marvin Plattenhardt (1. FC Nürnberg) and John Heitinga (Everton) are the newcomers who have bolstered the defence.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Traditionally, Hertha’s defense has been their biggest weakness, but ex-Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft has done a great job of keeping the ball from hitting the back of the net despite a poor defensive line. Kraft had eight clean sheets last season. RThe attack has been more of a weakness than defence recently, especially with the loss of top scorer Adrián Ramos to Dortmund and Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s move to Hamburg made permanent. The depth in the midfield is the team’s main strength.

Takeaway from 2013-14

Despite falling apart in the Rückrunde, Hertha stayed in the top flight. If they can play like they did in the Hinrunde of 2013, they can establish their place in the Bundesliga.

Trivia

Hertha was the first team to score more than one goal past Neuer last season (two goals on MD 10).

Verdict

Hertha are likely to finish in the middle of the table. If the new attacking additions can be of help, they may place higher. Placing in one of the European slots is highly unlikely.

The Boss

Fans generally like Coach Jos Luhukay. He is stern and sometimes harsh, but he has gotten results. He kept Hertha off the down elevator after this season.

Odds to win league:

250/1 (according to bwin.com).

60-second dossier”

  • Number of Matches won by 2 or more goals: 5
  • Number of Matches won by 1 goal: 6
  • Number of Matches drawn: 8
  • Number of Matches lost by 1 goal: 6
  • Number of Matches lost by 2 or more goals: 9
  • Number of matches in which a lead at the half was blown, resulting in loss: 1
  • Number of matches in which a lead was blown, resulting in draw: 1
  • Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn a draw: 1
  • Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn victory: 1

Top Scorers in 2013-14:

Adrián Ramos (16)

Sami Allagui (9)

Ronny (4)

Five-Year Record:

2009-10: 18th

2010-11: 1st (2. Bundesliga)

2011-12: 16th (relegated via playoff)

2012-13: 1st (2. Bundesliga)

2013-14: 11th

Q & A with a club fan@pdupuis

Keep an eye out for . . .”

Valentin Stocker and John Anthony Brooks.

“Terrace favorite . . .”

Peter Niemeyer & Ronny.

“Player you’d happily drive to another club . . .”

Sandro Wagner.

“Advice you’d give your manager . . .”

Keep doing what you’re doing.

“Opposition player you secretly admire . . .”

Bastian Schweinsteiger & Philipp Lahm

“Opposition player you despise. . .”

Manuel Neuer (despise and admire)

“Where will you finish?”

10th or 11th place

Is Hertha off the elevator for good this time?”

They’re probably safe for at least this season and next.

Fixture list:

August

  • 23 SV Werder Bremen (H)
  • 30 Bayer 04 Leverkusen (A)

September

  • 13 1. FSV Mainz (H)
  • 19 SC Freiburg (A)
  • 24 VfL Wolfsburg (H)
  • 28 FC Augsburg (A)

October

  • 04 VfB Stuttgart (H)
  • 18 FC Schalke 04 (A)
  • 25 Hamburger SV (H)

November

  • 01 SC Paderborn (A)
  • 08 Hannover 96 (H)
  • 22 1. FC Köln (A)
  • 29 Bayern München (H)

December

  • 06 Borussia Mönchengladbach (A)
  • 13 Borussia Dortmund (H)
  • 17 Eintracht Frankfurt (A)
  • 20 TSG Hoffenheim (H)

January

  • 31 SV Werder Bremen (A)

February

  • 03 Bayer 04 Leverkusen (H)
  • 07 1. FSV Mainz (A)
  • 14 SC Freiburg (H)
  • 22 VfL Wolfsburg (A)
  • 28 FC Augsburg (H)

March

  • 07 VfB Stuttgart (A)
  • 14 FC Schalke 04 (H)
  • 21 Hamburger SV (A)

April

  • 04 SC Paderborn (H)
  • 11 Hannover 96 (A)
  • 18 1. FC Köln (H)
  • 25 Bayern München (A)

May

  • 02 Borussia Mönchengladbach (H)
  • 09 Borussia Dortmund (A)
  • 16 Eintracht Frankfurt (H)
  • 23 TSG Hoffenheim (A)

Crucial Schedule Stretch:

As a team looking to cement its place in the top flight, the entire season is going to be critical for Hertha. The stretch from Hannover 96 to Dortmund in the Rückrunde (April 11-May 9) will be crucial to maintain their position. It includes Hannover, Köln, who will be looking for a win to stay up themselves, Bayern, ‘Gladbach, and Dortmund. This will be their most difficult series of games.

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Conni is a writer, football fan, and beer nerd. Her latest short story "Something There Is" is available in the anthology Substitution Cipher. You can follow her on twitter at @strafraum (football) or @exaggerated (writing and general life).

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