It's so fast in football. It had already been 24 since the cup victory over Dynamo Dresden, when Vedad Ibisevic and Maximilian Mittelstädt sat in the media room talking about the next game. There is just one reason for this fast pace at minute though, and that’s that on Saturday night (02/11/19, 18:30 CET), the long-awaited derby against the 1. FC Union Berlin will be played out. "Of course, we know very well how important the game is in Berlin and what role it plays for our fans. We’ve known that from the day Union Berlin came up," said captain Ibisevic who is looking forward to the showdown in the capital. "We want to show that we are number one in the city," emphasised another Herthaner - Maximilian Mittelstädt. We collected the most important statements from the boys on the DFB-Pokal win, and the huge game on Saturday.
Vedad Ibisevic on...
...progressing against Dynamo Dresden: It was an emotional, crazy game with ups and downs, but in the end, we got through and that’s all that matters. I don’t have a cold, I just shouted and cheered too much during the game and now my voice has gone. We expected that Dresden would come out fighting for their many travelling fans. The atmosphere was amazing, almost like a cup final. We didn’t exactly want to play for 120 minutes and have the game go on penalties and in fact, it shouldn’t have even come to that. It was exhausting, but we can’t let that get to us – it’s on to the match against Union on Saturday now. In addition, the result gives us a bit of extra motivation for a game where there’ll be a lot going on in everyone’s heads I’m sure. A derby alone is usually enough motivation anyway.
...the penalty shootout: When it comes to penalties, the goalkeeper is pretty much always the most important man. That's why I went to Thomas before it started and supported him, strengthened him a bit and showed him a little love. I felt that he would be there for us and I'm happy for him, and of course for the whole team, that he played so well.
...the team’s current form: We had a difficult start, but we fought it out. We’re back on track and we’re back to playing the way we want to play - but we need to consolidate it and then work hard to keep it constant. We have recently shown that we can come back as a team even after setbacks. That speaks to our great team spirit. I’m sure we’ll take the lead in a game soon, then it's not about turning the tide, but defending the lead.
…the explosiveness of the duel between Hertha and Union: It will be a heated game in a small, narrow stadium. We can all imagine what we can expect from the game and for me personally that only adds to my motivation. Of course, we know very well how important the game is in Berlin and what role it plays for our fans. We’ve known that from the day Union Berlin came up. What has gone on so far in this season doesn’t matter now, the only thing that matters will be those 90 minutes on Saturday. We will do everything we can to be victorious, because even with all the hype surrounding the game, that's our job - win the game and defend our status within this city.
Maximilian Mittelstädt on...
... his elbow injury: My recovery is going well. I’ve been in full team training the past few days, including tackling practice. Everything has felt fine so far. Now we’ll just have to wait and see how the final session on Friday goes and if playing on Saturday is a possibility.
... the game against Dresden: I’ve not seen many games with so much emotion, both on the pitch and in the stands. It was a crazy match. When you can only sit and watch from the sidelines instead of getting involved it makes you a lot more nervous. I was sitting with Klünti (Lukas Klünter) and we were shouting and screaming so much that we almost lost our voices. We were obviously over the moon that the result was a positive one in the end.
... the Berlin derby on Saturday: It’s an extremely important game, both for our club and for the entire city. We want to show that we’re the top dogs in the city. I played in a few derbies when I was younger, so I know a bit about what it feels like – even though Saturday’s game is so much bigger. It’s the first time we’ve met Union in the Bundesliga, which is something really special in itself. We will give everything to make sure we win.
... his personal derby record: I can’t remember us losing against Union at youth level. It was always very positive. We can take that as a good omen for the weekend.
... the fans’ support: When you know that you have such incredible support behind you it definitely gives you an extra boost. We’re very lucky to have fans like ours that stick with us though everything. Our fans could even be the deciding factor in this match. Everyone knows what the game means – it’s all anyone is talking about. It’s a huge game for me personally too. That’s why I’m trying everything I can to be fit and ready to help the team on Saturday.