Bad Saarow - There is a splendid golf course next to the team hotel which the Hertha squad are staying in whilst they train in Bad Saarow. New signing Mathew Leckie, a keen golfer, said, "I'm too tired to play golf. I'll start doing that again when pre-season is over." The Australian, who this summer joined from FC Ingolstadt, is experiencing his first pre-season at Hertha. "It's hard having three training sessions per day. But that's how it is and we will reap the rewards when the season starts."
Leckie didn't have a long summer break. He was on international duty at the Confederations Cup in Russia, like teammate Marvin Plattenhardt, although Leckie was representing Australia not Germany. The Socceroos didn't make it past the group stage and lost to the Germans along the way. "It was an honour for me to represent my country at this tournament. It was a good experience for my development," said the Australian. Even though the 26-year-old didn't have the longest summer break, he returned to Berlin on time. "Yeah I didn't have a particularly long break, but I'm not tired. I'm feeling really good at the minute." The winger picked up a few tips from Hertha's coaching staff before he went away: "I spoke to the trainers and the physios and they told me what I should be doing," said Leckie.
Sweating and getting to know new teammates
Few players really enjoy the training camp as part of pre-season, but many see no other alternative when preparing to face the demands of a long, hard season. Mathew Leckie sees another positive: "Because we all spend a lot of time together here, it's a good opportunity to get to know your teammates." Head coach Pál Dárdai and his coaching team can also get a better impression of new addition Leckie, who can operate both offensively and defensively on the wing: "I've played most of my career on the wing. I don't know exactly which position the coach is going to play in. There are a few options and he will see what works best."
Leckie played most of last season as an attacking left-winger for FC Ingolstadt, but despite his best efforts, he was unable to score a goal. "I had chances to score last season, but in some situations I was a bit unlucky." He's looking optimistically to the future with his new club, however, "Of course I would like to score lots of goals for Hertha if possible. Starting at a new club is a fresh chance to do things better. Hopefully my luck returns as I've always scored everywhere I've been in the past." A huge strength of the new Hertha man is his speed: he describes his pace as "a good weapon" and added, "Hopefully we can cause our opponents problems with our pace on the wings." Then there will also perhaps be some time for a round of golf.