Hertha Berlin want to dispel the gloom ahead of the derby and Bayern games
After years of disappointment, Hertha Berlin fans are bracing themselves even more ahead of a daunting week against city rivals Union Berlin and Bavarian powerhouses Bayern Munich.
Hertha host in-form Union in the third round of the German Cup on Wednesday, then league leaders Bayern in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
Injuries, coronavirus and the upheaval caused by high player turnover amid another coaching change have complicated Hertha’s bid to break out of their years-long stubborn cycle of underperformance.
On Saturday, new coach Tayfun Korkut’s side managed just a goalless draw against Wolfsburg – a team that had lost their last eight games in all competitions. Hertha lost their previous game 3-1 at home to Cologne.
Hertha’s 3-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund before the winter break was a highlight of a lackluster season so far. The club are working in 13th place in the 18-team league and have little hope of reaching the European qualification places they have been aiming for for a long time.
Union, meanwhile, who were aiming to survive their third season in the Bundesliga, are flying high in fifth.
Union are unbeaten in four games and will go into Wednesday’s cup game as favourites. Union won their last league encounter 2-0 in November.
Bayern are also expected to win at the Olympiastadion on Sunday. Julian Nagelsmann’s side claimed a 4-0 victory in Cologne and the club remain on course for a record 10th consecutive league title.
Despite the pervasive sense of gloom at the club, Hertha sporting director Fredi Bobic said on Sunday he had seen signs of progress in the seven months since taking charge. He said expectations were too high, especially since investor Lars Windhorst started backing the club.
“Over the past two or three years there have been proclamations of a breakthrough, and that has made subsequent disappointments even greater,” Bobic told the Hertha AGM, held virtually after that the original was postponed from November due to the coronavirus.
“We don’t want to take off balloons, but progress through work. We have to evolve towards a big club, which we are far from at the moment. It will take time.”
Bobic said the club would continue to focus on their young players, while there could also be “one or the other” winter arrival following the departures of Krzysztof Piatek and Deyovaisio Zeefuik.
The sporting director said Korkut could also stay on as coach beyond the summer, when his contract ends, if the team’s performance improves.
“There’s nothing against it, if everything goes the way we imagine,” Bobic said. “But I want to see the development.”
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