It was a successful first half of the season for the Blue-White Berliners. After 17 matches, 24 points are on the board – exactly the same number as at this stage last season. The Old Lady of Berlin will however be spending the winter break 8th in the standings, two places higher than last year. A look back at the more obscure stats and figures from the season so far make for good reading as far as Hertha are concerned. Herthabsc.de brings you the round-up.
The start of the season exceeded all expectations: Hertha picked up 14 points from the first seven games, boasting a goal difference of 12:7. Only in 1970 did the club enjoy a better start to a campaign. In Gelsenkirchen, Hertha recorded their first win away to Schalke in almost 14 years, and when champions Bayern Munich came to the capital, a 2-0 win for Pàl Dàrdai’s men ensured the first three points in this fixture for over nine years. These early-season achievements were particularly down to the team’s reliable defence, who went on to keep six clean sheets over the course of the Hinrunde. Goalkeeper Rune Jarstein actually broke a club record of his own, conceding his first goal of the season after 267 minutes.
This is not to say that the attackers didn’t play their part. On the contrary: in the first six games, Hertha scored in every game – the best start-of-a-season run since 2000. Including last campaign, the scoring run actually reached twelve games, which had not been achieved since 1978/79. The new-found quality in Hertha’s attacking ranks continued to excel for the remainder of the first half of the season. Against Hoffenheim, the boys in blue and white had 23 shots on goal, more than in any Bundesliga game over the last seven years.
The number of shots taken by Hertha players from outside the box is considerably low – in fact, no other team has attempted fewer shots from distance. But this is anything but proof of a lack of ambition, this is evidence of the style of attacking play preferred by our lads: combination play to work themselves the best possible chance to score before shooting. Furthermore, the Old Lady’s counterattacking threat has improved compared to previous seasons: the team has so far converted six quick breaks into goals, and only conceded one such goal.
The team had particularly seemed to enjoy scoring between the half-hour mark and half time: eight times so far, more than any other Bundesliga team. Upon comparison of the home and away form tables, it is clear that the capital city boys do indeed feel more at home in the Olympiastadion: 15 points from eight games make Hertha the fourth best home side in the league. No doubt in part due to the average attendance of 49,922, which is bettered by only four other clubs. Away from home on the other hand, Dàrdai’s men have collected a relatively average ten points.
The impressive statistics don’t end there. Several individuals within the team have personal and league bests to boast about in the winter break. The star man of the opening games was Ondrej Duda, who scored direct free-kicks in two consecutive away games against Schalke then Wolfsburg, both, remarkably, during stoppage time. Since records began, only one other Bundesliga player has ever managed this. Our number ten scored a total of six goals in the first eight games – already more than he had ever reached in a full season. Despite something of a goal drought in the following weeks, Ondrej Duda finished the first half of the season as Hertha’s leading goalscorer. Less commendable, but perhaps equally impressive is Duda’s foul count: 37 from 17 appearances is a league high.
Another stand-out performer was Javairo Dilrosun, for whom this season was his first in professional football. The young Dutchman could have fooled anyone however, as he went on to play a direct role in five goals over the first four games. The new summer arrival was held back by injury over the following weeks. Something Valentino Lazaro cannot relate to: the new makeshift right back has played every single minute of Hertha’s Bundesliga campaign so far – that's 1530 minutes on the pitch. In the process, the Austrian played the third-most key passes (passes leading to a shot) out of everyone in the league (35).
Misfortune at the back, luck up front
Vedad Ibišević also completed the first half of the season without suffering from any injuries, and celebrated a number of milestones along the way. In Hanover he made his 300th Bundesliga appearance, in Stuttgart he made his 100th Bundesliga appearance for Hertha. The veteran proved, however, that the years have not taken their toll: The Bosnian forward scored six goals in the Hinrunde, thereby becoming the only ever Bundesliga player to score at least 33 goals for three difference clubs. Our captain feels particularly at home in the opposition’s six-yard box, from where he has the most goals in the division.
Hertha did break one more all-time Bundesliga record, one which everyone at the club could have done without. Never before in the history of the Bundesliga have a team given away a penalty in five consecutive matches. All these on the first five matchdays. Only one of these games was lost, however, and up front, the Old Lady has felt the presence of lady luck – striking the woodwork only twice in the first 17 games – no other team has been denied by post or crossbar fewer times.