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“It’s really gutting”

After a bitter exit from the DFB-Pokal, Per Skjelbred, Niklas Stark and Pascal Köpke all spoke about the performance, sucker punches in the game, and a frustrating final result.

Hertha seemed to do pretty much everything right during the game on Tuesday evening, yet they still suffered a harsh and altogether frustrating loss at the hands of FC Schalke 04. The 3-2 defeat means the team is now out of the DFB-Pokal. To find the right words after that is a difficult task for the players. Goalscorer Pascal Köpke, captain Niklas Stark and Per Skjelbred tried anyway. “In the first half we were absolutely fantastic and we even got two goals to show for it. We started off the second half well too but we conceded the first goal completely out of nowhere and then the second shortly after. It’s really gutting,” said the Norwegian. We collected all the reactions after the game.

Niklas Stark: We weren’t going into tackles at 100% at the end, it was a mental thing. You could see that they had more time up front. A 2-0 lead is always dangerous. We were defending well, but should have attempted more tackles. Their long balls over our defence caused us problems and that’s how they scored their goals. Regarding the red card, Jordan is a very emotional player, which everybody knows. I’m so sorry that he was racially abused from the stands – I can’t imagine what that feels like. I can’t even begin to contemplate what it would be like, and even then it still boils my blood, so it must be much worse for him. This kind of thing is not acceptable and it partly explains what happened tonight. The whole team, club and league needs to stand with him! Everybody needs to distance themselves from this kind of behaviour. You could see how upset he was after the game and before extra time.

Per Skjelbred: We played brilliantly in the first half and scored two great goals. We played well again after the break, but then they scored from nowhere and a second soon followed. That really hurt us. These kind of goals can be decisive. We had chances again before going 3-2 down. We didn’t defend their goals well enough. We have to move on now.

 

Pascal Köpke: We actually played pretty well for an away match, we put our plan into action well. It was clear that Schalke had put more effort into the second half, and we wanted to hit them on the counter, but we unfortunately didn't succeed. The unlucky late goal, the equaliser and later the red card made our task much harder, and it's hard for us to think about. I didn't see what happened between Jordan and David Wagner. Schalke ultimately delivered the knockout blow through Raman's counter-attack. We need to show on Saturday that we can put our good moments in this game together for the whole match.

Teams, 05.02.2020
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