Berlin- The Hertha boys had been on holiday for 40 days. Ample time in which to do some sightseeing, go on holiday, or simply relax and recover. Monday saw that freedom come to an end, as Monday saw Pal Dardai’s men return top Schenckendorffplatz for the first time to prepare for the 2017/18 Bundesliga. “At last it’s time to get going again. My pone battery is on 100% and I am looking forward to being out here again,” said Pal Dardai.
The head coach had started to miss the beautiful game in the last few weeks. “It’s nice to take a break and get away from things, but in the last fe weeks the excitement has definitely been building,” said Dardai. 15:30 on Monday rolled round and it meant Dardai and his training team could finally do what they do best - coach football. And to 2017718 looks set to be a special one, with Europa League football on the agenda, and the fans, many of whom were present to see the first session of the season, have already marked those European dates in their diaries.
There were still some absentees on the day one though. European Under-21 champions Mitchell Weiser, Davie Selke and Niklas Stark have an extended holiday, as does Confed Cup winner Marvin Plattenhardt. All will return on July 17. Vedad Ibisevic (Bosnia), Vladimir Daria (Czech), Genki Haraguchi (Japan), Rune Jarstein (Norway), Peter Pekarik and Ondrej Duda (Slovakia) have also all received an extended break due to their international duty. They will rejoin the rest of the team on July 6 while new man Mathew Leckie will join them after being with Australia at the Confed Cup. Julian Schieber will continue to work on his comeback and will return when fully fit.
There will be a youthful look to the squad for the time being too with Florian Baak, Arne Maier, Julius Kade and Palko Dardai all hoping to make an impression on the senior squad this season. Youth team players Dennis Smarsch and Maurice Covic have also joined the squad for the time being. In addition to this, goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, son of German legend Jürgen, is currently on trial with the capital club until further notice.
The weeks ahead
It will be a busy week for the Blue and Whites with two sessions each at 10 and 15:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will see the squad to a training camp in Bad Saarow (July 7-14), and the boys will play Oranienburger FC en route.
Hertha have exactly six weeks to go before the start of the new campaign - the 125th year of the club. The next summer break is 314 days away (321 should they make the DFB Pokal final). With the exception of the winter break that equates to almost a full calendar year of football!