According to Cliff Arnall, the third Monday in January is always the saddest day of the year. The British psychologist came to this conclusion based on factors such as weather, motivation level and failed New Year’s resolutions. Our Hertha players, however, were obviously not affected by the so-called Blue Monday, as they seemed in the best of moods on their return to Schenckendorffplatz on Tuesday. A joke here, a boisterous laugh there. No wonder: For one, Oliver Christensen and Co. had soaked up plenty of sun during their hard work at their training camp in Florida, which ended last week. Another reason being that there is a great level of anticipation among the squad to take a first step towards their goals for 2023 in the upcoming Bundesliga return fixture in Bochum (21.01.23, 15:30 CET). “We are delighted to be back here and will now continue to prepare intensely for the Bochum game,” explained Sandro Schwarz after the first training session on home turf in almost six weeks.
Opposition specific training
After our coach and his squad landed back in Berlin on Sunday, they directly built on their work in the USA with an 80-minute opening session to the week. After an extensive warm-up, two types of games were on the agenda. First, they played five-on-five with four small goals on two different fields. Afterwards, they played seven-against-seven in a confined space, using full-size goals. “In terms of content, it’s now becoming more opponent-specific. We’re looking at what we need in our build-up play and what to do when we’re in possession in order to hold our own in Bochum. That will be our focus until Saturday, along with typical situations and finishing,” described the head coach before he emphasised: “We have an important game ahead of us, and we want to be ready for it. Now everything counts again!”
The group of 23 outfield players and four keepers, with Jonjoe Kenny braving the four degrees Celsius and drizzle in shorts, included Marvin Plattenhardt, who was unable to make the trip to Bradenton. “Due to his infection, he’s not quite back at full rhythm yet, but it’s good to have Platte back with us. We’ll see how everything develops over the coming days,” revealed Schwarz with regard to the left-back. Meanwhile, the 44-year-old only had to go without the injured Kélian Nsona and Chidera Ejuke.
Blow after blow
With the available personnel, Schwarz’s focus is now fully on the opener at Bochum. “We feel ready and have worked really well. We came out of last year in good shape, now we want to get back to operating temperature right away and be right at the level we need to be,” said the head coach, who will once again be challenging his team indoors in the athletic area in the afternoon. The subsequent sessions until the showdown with Bochum will be held behind closed doors. A successful start to the second half of the season would be a good way to kick off with regard to the challenges ahead. After all, the home games against VfL Wolfsburg (24.01.23, 20:30 CET) and 1. FC Union (28.01.23, 15:30 CET) will follow in quick succession.