Berlin – Hertha BSC were the first Bundesliga side to begin preparing for the start of the Rückrunde as the players returned to the training facilities on Sunday (29/12/19). The team kicked off the three-week preparation period ahead of our next game against FC Bayern München (19/01/20, 15:30 CET) with some individual fitness tests. On Monday morning (30/12/19), the boys were back for their first outdoor session since the start of the winter break. The 100-minute long session led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann served as a taster of what’s to come in the next few days and weeks. Before the intensive session got started, the coach shared his thoughts on possible changes to his squad, discussed the upcoming training camp in Florida and set out his aims for the second half of the season. Herthabsc.de has summarised all the key quotes from the man in charge.
Jürgen Klinsmann on…
…his Christmas holiday: I had a lovely Christmas in California with some great weather – it was short but sweet. We had a delicious Christmas dinner – my wife is a fantastic chef.
…his team’s current situation: We’re still in the relegation battle. Everyone can see how tight the table is – there’s only a few points between us and the relegation zone. We’ve picked up some good points in recent weeks and that’s given us a boost. However, we’re by no means out of the woods, so it makes sense for us to come back a few days earlier and put in some more work. The only way to make sure we start the next half the season well is to work hard – the players have accepted that and are doing well. They already completed some fitness tests on Sunday. Everyone’s obviously in a good mood because our last four games were all positive results. Nevertheless, we’re still in a serious situation, so we can’t afford to get carried away. We just want to pick up from where we left off and put ourselves in the best possible position for the start of the Rückrunde. Our schedule is similar to what we had at the end of the first half of the season. We face Bayern at home and then travel to Wolfsburg – it’s a tough run of fixtures and we need to do our homework beforehand.
…potential changes to his squad: We only comment on personnel decisions when something is confirmed. However, it’s normal for us to be having discussions behind the scenes – the winter transfer window is there for a reason. We’re looking at what we need in the short term for the second half of the season, but also at what might help us in the medium and long-term future. That’s what every club is doing at the moment. Hopefully, we will be able to do something that strengthens our squad and raises our quality. Thanks to our new circumstances, we can also think more about international players and players who we wouldn’t have approached previously. It’s great that foreign clubs are interested in Hertha BSC and they’re obviously observing what we’re up to here.
…where the team needs bolstering: Anyone putting together a team will always try and see how improvements can be made in any position. Hertha BSC needs to keep an eye on players that can help us internationally in the long term. That’s how the club is thinking, even though we are currently still in a relegation battle. But whatever decisions are made, it’s about helping us get to the top in the future. Our focus is on players who have the ability to represent us on the international stage one day.
…the changes the club is going through: Of course, it’s nice. But it’s also something that happens automatically. Our partner Tennor Holding B.V. has made the club debt-free together with Lars Windhorst and we now have the financial means to make some moves in the player market. It’s a completely new situation for the club and for Michael Preetz. It’s obviously going to have an impact on the club’s image. But our plan is clear: we want to get out of the relegation battle as soon as possible and make it into Europe in the medium to distant future. That’s our clear objective.
…the squad he is taking to Florida: We’ve started to put together a clear picture of the full squad and we’ll be travelling to the training camp with a slightly reduced one. We’re not exactly sure yet who will stay behind in Berlin. We’re planning to take a maximum of 25 players to Florida, including goalkeepers. Both Rune Jarstein and Thomas Kraft are currently suffering with illness but we’re hoping that they’ll be available to join us when we leave on Thursday.
…his training plan for the next few days: Every day we work on the players’ understanding of each other on the pitch and we want to continue to develop our team chemistry. We want to make improvements in attack, as I’ve said many times before and we’re taking that step by step. But, of course, we also need to be realistic about what we need in our current situation – not just on the football side of things. However, we obviously want to be creating more chances and scoring more goals.
…Salomom Kalou’s absence from training: I had a really good discussion with Sala. He said he had realised he wasn’t being used as much. He is a realist and can see that we’ve got some young players coming through. Therefore, he said that he needs to think and we’re giving him the time he needs to do that. He is a complete professional and a great guy!