“It is an honour to be on this list”
Pál Dárdai leads the way accompanied by other greats such as Holger Brück, Erich ‘Ete’ Beer, Dick van Burik and Arne Friedrich. Michael Hartmann and Michael Preetz are also both worthy mentions. What do all these people have in common? They are all Hertha through and through but also have the most appearances in the club’s history. Fabian Lustenberger is the only active player in the top ten as he made his 200th Bundesliga appearance against Hoffenheim in the last game. Lustenberger moved to Hertha in 2007 and if he stays injury-free until 2018/19 he could make over 300 career appearances and become 5th on the club’s all-time appearances list,” said midfielder.
herthabsc.de: Lusti, are you aware that you are closing in on one of Michael Preetz’s record?
Lustenberger: It definitely isn’t his goalscoring record, I can tell you that (laughs). Is it to do with my Bundesliga appearances for Hertha BSC?
herthabsc.de: That’s right. You are now in the Bundesliga 200 club after the game last weekend. Our sporting director ‘only’ made 196 Bundesliga appearances in blue and white. Do you view this milestone as some sort of accolade?
Lustenberger: I think accolade is perhaps the wrong word. It is obviously a great number and I am delighted to have made so many appearances. I have been a Hertha player for over a decade now and to be on a list with so many club legends is a huge honour.
herthabsc.de: You have currently made 287 appearances for the club while record-holder and head coach Pál Dárdai made 373 appearances. Are you annoyed that you could have played more games if it was not for injuries?
Lustenberger: I was annoyed that I could not play at the time I was injured but because I could not help the team at the time, not because I could have had the most appearance. I do not like sitting in the stands knowing there is no way I can influence the game.
herthabsc.de: At the moment, quite a few of your teammates are injured, especially in defence. In the 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim, you helped out Derrick Luckassen at centre back again. After a few days' reflection, how would you rate the game?
Lustenberger: All in all, getting a draw was probably alright. We were asleep at the start and went 2-0 behind, and then 3-1 down in the second half. Coming together as a team and equalising at the end is surely the sign of a good performance, and shows that the moral is there in our team. After two defeats, it was important to stop the losing streak. Still, the draw is a bit annoying, as I feel we could have got even more from the game, but unfortunately we made a lot of mistakes.
herthabsc.de: You've said it yourself: you've concededed thrice against Leipzig, four times in Düsseldorf and thrice again in Hoffenheim. You've been a bit unbalanced in your play recently. What needs to be done to make you stronger at the back again, without losing your attacking edge?
Lustenberger: Conceding 10 times is clearly too much, and we must not discuss that in detail. Scoring three times in a home game should result in us winning! We've now got to reflect on what made us strong at the beginning of the season, even if that is a bit of a cliché. Everyone's got to run and fight for each other, and together we've got to make space tight for our opponents and not let them grow into games. If these tactics work, then it's easier for us to put more emphasis on our attack. It's not purely a defensive problem, as they've had to change around every now and then due to injuries or suspensions. As a team, we've got to pull our socks up.
herthabsc.de: An away match against Hannover 96 awaits you this Saturday (kickoff 15:30 CET). What do you plan to do in order to beat them?
Lustenberger: Hannover are in 16th and will be under a little more pressure than us, as they're playing at home. I think the 96ers want to get us involved in a physical game. As I already mentioned, we've got to be the ones who start competing, and we've got to put up with everything they throw at us. If they notice that we're not sitting back, then that will help us put our mark on the game a lot. We want to take three points with us back to Berlin.