The new season is finally upon us! Bruno Labbadia’s excitement – a feeling probably shared by all Hertha fans – was evident as he sat before the press on Wednesday (09.09.20). The capital city club’s full focus now lies on the DFB-Pokal first-round match against Eintracht Braunschweig on Friday (11.09.20, 20:45 CEST). "I am just looking forward to getting back underway! This is what we’ve worked so hard for in preseason,” said Labbadia, knowing that the match against the second-division side will be no easy ride to start the season. “We will be pushed hard – Braunschweig have plenty of quality and will go into the game on a high, having achieved promotion last season. In the cup, every game is a final. That is how we have to approach it.” There is real anticipation for the 2020/21 season in Berlin, something which has not changed despite some less-than-ideal friendly results. Hertha’s head coach saw two different stages to preseason: “The first half of preseason was brilliant, as we were able to implement a lot of new ideas. With the friendly results and then the international break, the second half has not been quite so good. But that’s just how it goes in preseason sometimes, especially given the current circumstances. It’s about how we kick on from here – that will be decisive.” Over the past few weeks, the 54-year-old head coach has held talks with his players, both individually and as a group. This is something that he plans to continue during the season.
Who will start between the sticks? Who plays up front?
As well as causing players to miss training during the last two weeks, the international break will also have an effect on squad selection for the upcoming cup tie. Labbadia still has decisions to make regarding his line-up and his captain for the season. First on the agenda is to decide who starts against Braunschweig. Who will be the goalkeeper? Who will replace the absent Krzysztof Piątek in attack? "I want to speak with the players. It’s a real three-way battle for the starting spot in goal, as Nils Körber has made a really good impression,” said Labbadia. The three keepers fighting for a place in the line-up are Rune Jarstein, Alexander Schwolow and the returning Körber, who spent last season out on loan. For now, Labbadia is keeping his cards close to his chest.