The 2017/18 Bundesliga season has reached the halfway stage, giving us here at the Bundesliga Fanatic the opportunity to take stock of each club’s progress so far. Here, we look at how Hertha Berlin have fared in the Hinrunde.
The story so far
It’s a case of so far, so good for Hertha Berlin, although with plenty of room for improvement. Pal Dardai’s side have achieved some impressive results in the Hinrunde, but it took them until the final two games of the year to win two league games in succession so consistency has been the issue so far.
The Old Lady began the season with a 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart with Mathew Leckie breaking his long scoring drought with a brace before losing to Borussia Dortmund by the same scoreline. They followed that with draws against both Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim.
They had a good win at home to Bayer Leverkusen, but couldn’t build on it and went out at lost at Mainz in their next game. It’s been a recurring theme in the Hinrunde and when they fought back to secure a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich, it came as no surprise that they went and lost to Schalke in their next outing.
They became the first side this season to lose to Köln when they exited the DFB Pokal at the second round stage, but did exact some revenge when they duly beat the Geißböcke in the Bundesliga on matchday 13.
The final two games of the year finally saw them win back-to-back matches in the league with a 3-1 home win over Hannover followed by their best result of the season- a 3-2 away win over RB Leipzig.
Hertha have had the added pressure of competing in the Europa League, but that’s not a problem they will face in the Rückrunde having finished bottom of their group featuring Athletic Bilbao, Östersund and Zorya with just one win.
So Hertha finished 10th at the halfway stage, but will be regretting their ability to string wins together. Salomon Kalou has found himself amongst the goals again and finished with seven at the Winterpause.
P17 W6 D6 L5 F26 A25 Pt24 (10th)
- Hertha lead the Bundesliga at goals scored from set-pieces with 15 (7 corners, 5 free-kicks, 2 penalties and 1 throw-in).
- With an average of 8.6 shots on target per game, Hertha have the worst record in the league.
- Mitchell Weiser has made a Bundesliga high number of ground challenges with 261 averaging 17 per 90 minutes.
Top Performer: Karim Rekik
Since arriving in the summer from Marseille, the Dutch defender has made himself and indispensable cog in the Hertha back line and proved just why he was rated so highly as a youngster when signing for Manchester City.
He’s put his dismal time in the South of France behind him and is enjoying playing consistently- he’s missed just one game in the league after injury against Hannover.
Not content with impressing defensively, Rekik has scored twice this season (in successive games against Hamburg and Wolfsburg) and laid on three assists.
The summer signings
All of the summer arrivals at the Olympiastadion have had a positive impact on the Hertha squad and can see the Hinrunde as a success. Karim Rekik has impressed as outlined above, while Davie Selke has provided an option to Kalou and Ibisevic and enjoyed scoring a double in the win over Leipzig taking his tally to four.
Australian international Mathew Leckie started the season with a bang scoring twice against Stuttgart and added two more against Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen. For a player, who had failed to score in the whole of the previous season, it was quite a turnaround. Midfielder Valentino Lazaro signed from RB Salzburg and has largely been used as an impact substitute, although he did start the final two games.
Losing to Köln in the DFB Pokal 2nd round has to be the low-point of their Hinrunde. With the Rhein club failing to win any of their opening nine Bundesliga games, Hertha were expected to overcome them easily and move into round three. A 3-1 home defeat ensued and to be fair Hertha made a poor side, low on confidence look good.
That poor Cup form continued into Europe with only one win as they finished bottom of their Europa League group.
The final match of the Hinrunde brought Hertha’s best display and their best result with a 3-2 win over RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena. Despite the controversial early sending off of Jordan Torunarigha, Hertha raced into a 3-0 lead with Davie Selke scoring twice against his former side and Salomon Kalou adding another with a powerful header.
RB Leipzig did stage the expected comeback, but left it too late with goals from Willi Orban and Marcel Halstenberg not enough to peg Hertha back. For the first time Hertha had secured back-to-back Bundesliga wins following an Englische Woche victory at home to Hannover and pushed them away from the bottom and into 10th place.
Much will depend on gaining consistency for Hertha. Last season showed that they have the squad and the ability to finish in the top six, it will just need them to be able to string together a sequence of positive results. Rune Jarstein has looked solid behind a defence that is growing in stature. There are goals in the team and there is a good mix of youth and experience led by the wily Pal Dardai.
All the ingredients are there for a successful Rückrunde and another European qualification will be the target for die Alte Dame.
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