It is almost like a curse. Four times he has been called up by Joachim Löw, eight games he could have featured in, but it just hasn’t worked out for Niklas Stark. When Löw had been talking about a guaranteed start against Argentina, Stark missed out through illness. In a bitter and curious twist of fate, he missed out on Germany’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia just a couple of days later as well, this time due to a cut on his shin that he picked when he banged his leg on a glass table in the team hotel. Now Stark has his next chance to make his long-await debut, as Germany take on Belarus and Northern Ireland in the final weekend of Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Stark isn’t the only Hertha player travelling abroad for the third and final international break of 2019. While the 2014 world champions have one foot in the door of next summer’s competition and Dedryck Boyata’s Belgium have already qualified, a few Blue-and-Whites will be feeling a bit jittery. Vladimir Darida and the Czech Republic still have to fight for their place with games againt Kosovo and Bulgaria, the same goes for Ondrej Duda and Peter Pekarik, who take Croatia and Azerbaijan with the Slovakia national team. Rune Jarstein and Norway are in a somewhat more precarious position. Mathew Leckie will probably not travel to Australia, because he and his wife are expecting their second child. A full list of Hertha’s internationals is available below.