In the first of two friendlies during Hertha’s second training camp of the summer in Stegersbach, the Blue-Whites took on Turkish side Fenerbahçe on Thursday evening. New signings Eduard Löwen and Daishawn Redan both made their Hertha debuts as Redan helped his new side to a 2-1 victory.
Fenerbahçe started the match as the stronger side, forcing Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein into two start saves in the 3rd and 6th minutes respectively. After nine minutes, the club from the capital created their first chance of the friendly as Fenerbahçe goalkeeper Tekin denied Davie Selke. Both teams carved out multiple chances to open the scoring but neither side could take advantage, former Bundesliga striker Max Kruse spurning the best chance of the opening 20 minutes (16’). After a short drinks break in the heat, Hertha started to look more dangerous in attack as Mathew Leckie tested Tekin in the Fenerbahçe goal (32’). At the other end, Kruse was played in one-on-one against Jarstein but the Norwegian was able to narrowly deny the striker (36’). With Hertha’s last chance of the half-time, Ondrej Duda fired wide as the teams returned to the dressing rooms goalless at the break (45’).
At half-time, Blue-Whites head coach Ante Čović made a full eleven changes to his side. In the opening exchanges of the second half, both side carved out more opportunities but were struggling to find the final pass to break the deadlock. Fenerbahçe created the first clear chance of the second half as Thomas Kraft made a fine save to deny Moses (57’). Just two minutes later, Hertha scored the opening goal of the match as second half substitute and debutant Daishawn Redan forced the ball home after good build-up play from Lukas Klünter (59’). The Turkish side went in search of an immediate response and almost found it 67 seconds later as a shot flashed wide of Kraft’s goal. Hertha continued to improved as the match reached its closing stages and Vedad Ibišević added a second goal with just under ten minutes to go to seemingly put the Blue-Whites in control (81’). However, on this occasion, Fenerbahçe managed to respond immediately as Sayyadmanesh scored moments later and set up a grandstand finish. Kraft was forced to make another strong save in the 82nd minute to prevent another quick goal but Čović’s side held on for the victory.
“We were unable to find success in a 4-3-3 formation in the first half hour especially against prestigious opponents such as Fenerbahçe. Then we changed formation to a 3-5-2 and we improved. I want us to have this flexibility,” analysed the head coach following the match. “In the second half, we did a lot of things right, defended courageously and then deservedly took a 2-0 lead, even if we had to dig deep after they scored a consolation strike. It was overall a successful friendly and this has been the case for our pre-season up to this point,” stressed Čović. In the forthcoming days, Hertha will train twice each day ahead of their second friendly of the training camp against West Ham next Wednesday (18:00 CEST).
Hertha Starting XI:
1st Half: Jarstein - Leckie, Boyata, Rekik, Plattenhardt - Duda, Stark, Grujić - Esswein, Selke, Kalou
2nd Half: Kraft - Klünter, Friede, Torunarigha, Mittelstädt - Löwen, Darida, Skjelbred - Dilrosun, Ibišević, Redan
Goals: 1-0 Redan (59‘), 2-0 Ibišević (81‘), 2-1 Sayyadmanesh (82‘)
Match Venue: Profertil Arena, Hartberg, Austria