Sinsheim/Berlin – Some of Hertha’s squad had already made their way off the pitch when the nearly 1,000 fans that had travelled to the match called out to them one last time. Although the fans didn’t hide their discontent over Hertha’s latest defeat, they still sent them off with one final loudly sung “Ha, Ho, He!” cheer. “It’s obvious that right now is a difficult time for our fans who always come out to support us—but the same goes for us! It’s not that we’re returning home happy with the result,” said Davie Selke. “The fans support us at every match. If they want to let us know that they’re unhappy, then it’s totally fair for them to do so. That’s something we have to listen to as a team,” the striker said.
Stark sits out on his birthday—solid performances from Klünter and Mittelstädt
Sunday started with bad news for one Hertha player, hours before kick-off. Niklas Stark, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Sunday, had to sit out the match due to illness. This forced Pál Dárdai to change his formation. Lukas Klünter delivered a solid performance after being moved to centre back for the first time ever, while Maximilian Mittelstädt was part of the central midfield. “It’s a positive thing for us to see Lukas and Maxi prove that they can play at this level in positions that they aren’t used to,” the head coach highlighted.
But, Hertha’s defence was unable to stop Hoffenheim, who took the lead in the 29th minute after a shot from distance from Nadiem Amiri. The goal came after Hoffenheim had one disallowed in the 22nd minute after an offside call from the referee. Hertha rallied and created chances in front of their opponent’s goal. Mittelstädt’s shot went into the side of the net, and Oliver Baumann kept out Marvin Plattenhardt’s free kick shortly after. Despite a strong performance in the second half, Dárdai’s side were unable to score. “We put in a good effort, but in the end, Hoffenheim earned the win. If we had managed to equalize during the second half when we upped the pressure, then the game would have likely had a different ending,” Selke said. “I felt like we had a chance tonight. Hoffenheim killed us with that second goal,” Klünter said. Reiss Nelson’s header was initially thought to be offside, but Hoffenheim found themselves 2-0 up after VAR review.
Turning things around? “Only through hard work!”
This marked Hertha’s fifth consecutive defeat. “We won’t give up, and will continue to push,” said Selke. “We will only be able to turn things around as a team!” Veteran player Per Skjelbred revealed just how Hertha can turn things around: “It will only come through hard work. We need to go the extra mile, communicate more and stick together. If you’re going through a tough time in life, you have to fight together—the same goes in football. Football is everything to us. It’s no fun when things aren’t going well.” Hertha’s next chance to turn their season around will be on Easter Sunday (21 April 2019, 18:00 CEST), at home against last place Hannover 96.