Berlin – Davie Selke waves away and shakes his head. “No no I’ve already said everything on this topic,” said the forward cheekily grinning. The 24-year-old was already aware that he was likely to face a few questions about his past in the days leading up to the game. The 24-year-old will travel with Hertha BSC to his old club RB Leipzig, where he played from 2015 to 2017 before moving to the club in the capital. It’s well-known that football likes narratives where players return to former clubs and it’s no different for Davie Selke and Leipzig. The Blue-White player has certainly provided a lot of conversation in the previous meetings between the clubs.
A look back: On his first return to Leipzig in December 2017, Selke, who was booed during every touch he had, scored the match winner. In a 3-2 win for Berlin, the new summer-signing scored twice. “That was an intensive and fully-packed game. A quick goal, a quick sending-off, a 3-0 lead, chances for more goals and then a tight finish,” remembered the former U21 international about the clash before Christmas 2017. The player has left that personal victory in the past. “The game was a long time ago now and has nothing to do with the game on Saturday. There are no old scores to settle or anything like that. Hertha will play Leipzig and try to get the three points,” said Berlin’s number 27.
Involved in a goal every other game
The encounter described above happened exactly 467 days ago. In this time, Selke, despite rough patches and complicated injuries, has kept his place in Pál Dárdai’s team. More than that: the former youth-team international is a very important piece of the Hertha puzzle. To see his importance to the team we can look towards his statistics for the club. Even though he’s ‘only’ scored three goals this Bundesliga season, he’s racked up nine assists – his personal best - and helped secure many points for the club. “If the team end up winning and I’ve played my part in it, then everything is good. Of course I want to score as many goals as possible. That’s why I’m only partially happy with my stats,” said Selke on his records this season.
The self-confident scorer did not doubt himself after his rough patches. “At the start of the year there was a lack of goals even though I had chances, but I knew that hole in my play would be patched up at some point,” explained the forward. There is no reason for him to have self doubt: with 13 goals and 13 assists in 50 Bundesliga games for “the Old Lady”, he has been involved in a goal once every two games for the team. That’s quite remarkable when you think about the competition for a place at the front with Vedad Ibišević. “Vedad and I obviously both want to play and are very motivated to keep our place. In the Hinrunde, Vedo was always scoring and it wasn’t so easy for me having just come back from injury. But at the end of the day we are team players that support each other and look forward to getting three points,” said the 24-year-old.
Ready to play just in time
On Saturday, captain Ibišević is unavailable due to a suspension, and so Dárdai will look to Selke. “I’m feeling good and have taken the burden upon myself well,” said the Schondorf native, who was out with a muscle injury for the game in Freiburg. He was back in the starting XI for the game against Dortmund but was kept from training this past week as a safety precaution.
Should Selke play at the weekend, it would be his 51st league game for Hertha, meaning he would have played one more league game for Hertha than for his former club (including 2. Liga games). In terms of competitive games, he has already racked up more appearances for his current club. The Hertha man wasn’t too concerned with that stat, however, stating, “I’m not going to think about it. We want to win the game on Saturday and in the best case, I play my part with goals and assists,” said Selke. He will certainly provide fodder for stories in any case.