Per Skjelbred and Hertha BSC – an outstanding relationship. The Norwegian is a warrior, a midfield motor and leader and always keeps pushing the team forward, even in difficult situations. The 31-year-old always identifies Hertha BSC with positive times. He has played at Hertha BSC since September 2013 and could make his 150th Bundesliga appearance for the ‘Old Lady’ on Sunday (13:30 CEST). In an interview with herthabsc.de, Skjelbred spoke about his first match for the capital club, the number 150, special moments with Hertha BSC and the upcoming game against Hoffenheim.
Herthabsc.de: Per, do you remember the 13th September 2013?
Skjelbred: Did we win? Oh no, we lost to VfB Stuttgart and that was my first game for Hertha BSC. It was very hectic. I landed in Berlin four days before the game, without any of my things, without accommodation and without family. I wasn’t really familiar with my surroundings and went straight into the starting XI. That was already a little shock for me. But, it was really fun – playing for your new club for the first time is always special. It was a funny feeling after the game: I am always annoyed after a loss. But I didn’t know the lads so well so I couldn’t really be angry (smiles).
Herthabsc.de: A week later, you scored your first goal for Hertha against SC Freiburg – in your second game. What was that moment like?
Skjelbred: We earned a very important point that game (1-1) and of course it was a very good feeling. It is always difficult when you play in Freiburg. I can remember it was an especially hot matchday and that didn’t make things any easier.
Herthabsc.de: You have played a total of 149 Bundesliga games for Hertha BSC. On Sunday, it could be your 150th. Is that a special number for you?
Skjelbred: Maybe… (laughs). Yeah it’s a special number. It’s not easy to play 150 games in the Bundesliga. I am now at an age where I can identify myself with the club. We have achieved a lot together, met many good footballers and made many friends – throughout the world. I am simply happy, to play for such an amazing club and to have had the opportunity to live in an outstanding city with my family. My kids have grown up here and have their own lives in this city. That is something special. After I end my career, I can look at my Hertha kit and tell my grandchildren: “Grandpa played for Hertha for a long time.”
herthabsc.de: When you look back on the past six years, is there a standout moment for you?
Skjelbred: The biggest highlight for me is whenever we manage to accomplish something together as a team. That’s something we have a chance to achieve every weekend: it doesn’t matter if it’s a challenge we win, a teammate helping me out on the pitch, or a game where we eke out a win—those are all great moments.
herthabsc.de: The team has had two four-game losing runs since you’ve started playing here. In both cases, the fifth game resulted in a tie. And, nearly five years ago, your opponent was TSG Hoffenheim. That game ended with a score of 1-1. What are you expecting to face on Sunday?
Skjelbred: Right now it’s important that we put on a strong performance and that will determine what the result is after 90 minutes. The most important thing is that find our defensive strength again. Playing in Hoffenheim will not be an easy match. They are a good team and like to keep possession. We will have to take advantage of the chances that come our way.
herthabsc.de: Finally, let’s look towards the future: how many matches do you think you’ll still play for Berlin?
Skjelbred: That’s something I don’t know the answer to right now—I hope as many as possible! I need to enjoy this time while it lasts and then we’ll see how many games I’m still able to play.