Christian Gimenez and Leandro Cufre have at least three things in common with Santiago Ascacibar. All of them were born in Argentina, have football as their passion and have Hertha BSC listed on their curricula vitae. Gimenez played for the Berlin club between 2006/07 (28 games), while Cufre made five appearances in the second half of the 2008/09 season. New arrival Ascacibar has been under contract with the Old Lady since New Year's Day and is spending the first few days in his new environment at the winter training camp in Orlando. In the USA, 'el Ruso' (editor's note: Spanish for 'the Russian'), as he is called in Argentina due to his blonde hair, spoke to the media representatives between training sessions about his first impressions of Hertha, his way of playing and his aims. herthabsc.de has summarised the interview.
... his first days with Hertha BSC: I have a very good first impression of the team, who have welcomed me well. After a transfer, it feels a bit unfamiliar initially, and I have to get to know everything - players and procedures - but I'm settling in well. Until a few days ago, I only knew Alexander Esswein, who played for VfB Stuttgart in the last Rückrunde.
... his move to Berlin: Hertha BSC is a very good place to live in my eyes. I have also spoken a lot with Rainer Widmayer (editor's note: assistant coach under Pál Dárdai) about the club. He said a lot of positive things about the club and the team, as well as about the city. He said that I should make the move if the offer was there. Also, with regard to the national team, it is important that I play in the Bundesliga. I am more on the radar of coach Lionel Scaloni. As a player in the 2. Bundesliga, it would have been difficult to show myself off in the long run.
... Coach Jürgen Klinsmann: Before the transfer, I spoke to him on the phone. He welcomed me and told me how he perceives me and what he expects from me. He plans on playing me in a holding position. This is usually the position I feel most comfortable in. However, in Stuttgart I also played in a more attacking position. Nevertheless, I learned at VfB that I play wherever the coach puts me (smiles).
...his way of playing: Making tackles, being snappy and winning the ball and quickly playing it forward - that's my job out on the pitch. I would also like to score more goals - that hasn't really happened too often in Germany (laughs). My game is based on the temperament of my performance, but I've known since my time at VfB that I have to be more patient and level-headed on the pitch. I was suspended for six games (editor's note: due to a red card), which was a catastrophe.
... his free-time activities and life far away from home: I've always fished in Argentina. I haven't done that in Germany yet because I don't have a license (smiles). But I have heard that Marvin Plattenhardt also fishes. Maybe he will take me with him sometime. Anyway, the first year in Germany was difficult. There are some things I had to adjust to. The mentality is different and the people here are very disciplined. The second year was much better, mainly because I learned the language much better. I actually understand everything in German, but I don't speak it very well yet. Next month, I will be a father, so my child will be born in Germany.
... the second half of the season and his goals as a Hertha player: "As a team, we have to score, score, score. We can then still make a decent season out of this current campaign. I have already noticed from my first few days that we have a lot of good players in the squad. We can definitely do better than in the Hinrunde. Personally, I will give everything to offer myself to the coach so that I can help the team out on the pitch."