The Hertha team have run, jumped, lifted weights and completed all the stretches in the world, but the most important thing is that they have trained, trained and trained again on the pitch at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Over the last 11 days, the team has played four friendlies, enjoyed the American sunshine, and talked tactics in the video analysis room. Of course, the question of what starting the year across the Atlantic has brought the team could be asked – who better to answer that question than head coach, Sandro Schwarz: “We spent a lot of time considering what we would focus on. The main thing we decided to focus on was the physical aspect of our game, which I have been impressed by here,” explained the 44-year-old in a press conference after departing the training pitch for the final time. “Overall, we worked really hard on everything that we set out to do,” the head coach said, also discussing the long winter break, the fight for places in the time, and the Bundesliga restart away to Bochum on Saturday January 21st (15:30 CET).
… his summary of the training camp:
Sandro Schwarz: We spent a lot of time considering what we would focus on. The main thing we decided to focus on was the physical aspect of our game, which I have been impressed by here. We spent the first part of the camp working our attacking game and also tried to improve our defence too. Overall, we worked really hard on everything that we set out to do – the only dampener was the injury to Chidera Ejuke. We know that we have to keep working hard in every area and continue improving. We can’t take the work we’ve done for granted; we have to remain focused and with the knowledge that we have made some progress.
… the long winter break:
Sandro Schwarz: We’ll see if our plan has worked out well after a few results (laughs). The first focus was how we used out time after the game against Köln and the boys did really well. After that, it was the right decision to keep our intensity up for three more weeks. After that and during the break, we could all switch off a bit after a long year and recharge our batteries. I think our approach did a lot for us mentally.
… the progress of the team:
Sandro Schwarz: Our aim is for every player to make progress. The way we have overcome setbacks as a team is really impressive and I’ve also liked the way the young players have integrated into the team. We’ve given a good account of ourselves as a team. If I had to single someone out, I’d say that the way Jessic Ngankam has dealt with the long time out due to injury is really good. I’m really pleased that he’s been integrated back into the team relatively quickly after such a long injury break.
… competition for places in the squad:
Sandro Schwarz: A good atmosphere is not directly related to sloppiness. We have to consider them as different things. A good atmosphere means that you get on well with one another and enjoy your work. Still, being focussed is crucial when you get underway on the pitch or before that in the gym, and we have got very good feedback here from our fitness coaches. Obviously, we want to create a happy environment, but at the same time have concentration on the pitch. We know how the table looks and are taking the situation seriously, without wondering around in circles asking ourselves exactly what’s happening. We have self-confidence – whilst also being conscious of what we have already picked up. We’ll go into next week with exactly this attitude and are looking forward to playing VfL Bochum. We have already taken a look at our opponent here or there – that’s one advantage of such a long winter break. We have had an eye open, but we haven’t completed our preparation with just this game in mind.
… die Konkurrenzsituation im Kader:
Sandro Schwarz: Stevan Jovetić can take on playing the ten role very well. But we also have other boys that can play in that position – if we want to play a 4-2-3-1 on Saturday. Jove has not been in a rhythm since his injury in Bremen, we then were only able to work with him on an individual basis. When he is fully fit, he obviously has his own qualities. If these are what we need for the game in Bochum, we will see. Generally, I am not a fan of the phrase a nice problem to have. We obviously hope that all our players are healthy and ready to play. If that is the case then we have a wide selection to choose from. Especially with the knowledge that we start with a double gameweek, this gives us a good feeling. We need this competition for places. We have a rough idea of what the line-up against Bochum on Saturday will look like, but we still have a full week of training in which the boys can confirm that they want to be on the pitch.