Bild: Herthabsc

"We all have the desire"

Niklas Stark attended a press conference on Wednesday (17/02/21), underlining the unity within the team. He also discussed his position within the team and upcoming opponents Leipzig.

The dictionary defines a leader as someone who is capable of taking on a role at the front, making decisions and commanding others. Niklas Stark certainly takes on that responsibility within the Hertha squad. The 25-year-old has been at the club since summer 2015, playing 157 matches for the club in all competitions. This season, Stark has been challenged like never before, having inherited the captain’s armband in the absence of regular skipper Dedryck Boyata, who has been out injured since last December. Stark, who has been utilised in midfield as well as at centre-back this season, has worn the armband ever since the game between Hertha and Schalke at the turn of the year. Stark’s importance to the team can also be seen in his stats so far this season, having played 1,971 of a possible 1,980 minutes so far this season. Having missed just nine minutes of action, no Herthaner has played more football than Stark in 2020/21.
The defender, however, is not too concerned by his personal statistics and prefers instead to focus on the team as a whole. “Everyone can look at the table and see that we need points. Together, we all have the desire to get out of this situation and rise from the bottom,” said Stark at a virtual press conference on Wednesday (17/02/21) ahead of the upcoming home match against RasenBallsport Leipzig. herthabsc.de sums up what the big centre-half had to say.
Niklas Stark on...
...his individual statistics: Those statistics aren’t especially important to me, but it’s nice to hear about them. Still though, I’d prefer to have played less minutes if it meant that we had a few more points in the bank. Obviously, though, I’m happy to have featured so often.
…his development as a defensive midfielder: I’ve been back playing as a centre-back recently, and that’s where I imagine I’ll be playing in the next few games too. Then we’ll have to wait and see what the coaches’ long-term plans for me are. I play wherever the coach thinks will give us the best chance of winning. I will give it my all, regardless of whether that’s in defence or in central midfield. Playing those games in midfield was a good experience for me. It never hurts to play in a more advanced position; it gives you a new perspective regarding space and passing.
…the lack of success from set pieces: We’ve not done badly defending set pieces in recent games, even if we conceded a stupid goal from a dead ball in Stuttgart. Stuttgart fooled us with a little trick. We had to defend that better, but recently we have been much more solid at set pieces. Overall this season, though, we have conceded too many goals from set pieces. We have to work on that, clearly. Both offensively and defensively we have to attack the ball with more force and determination. As a team we all have to admit that we’ve not scored enough goals from set pieces.
…head coach Pál Dárdai: Pál is Pál. Everybody knows who he is. Pál hasn’t changed much. He is a football man through and through, he knows what’s going on with us and what we need. The coach knows what matters. He just sees us and knows exactly what is going through our heads. We work on these things every day in training.

The dictionary defines a leader as someone who is capable of taking on a role at the front, making decisions and commanding others. Niklas Stark certainly takes on that responsibility within the Hertha squad. The 25-year-old has been at the club since summer 2015, playing 157 matches for the club in all competitions. This season, Stark has been challenged like never before, having inherited the captain’s armband in the absence of regular skipper Dedryck Boyata, who has been out injured since last December. Stark, who has been utilised in midfield as well as at centre-back this season, has worn the armband ever since the game between Hertha and Schalke at the turn of the year. Stark’s importance to the team can also be seen in his stats so far this season, having played 1,971 of a possible 1,980 minutes so far this season. Having missed just nine minutes of action, no Herthaner has played more football than Stark in 2020/21.

The defender, however, is not too concerned by his personal statistics and prefers instead to focus on the team as a whole. “Everyone can look at the table and see that we need points. Together, we all have the desire to get out of this situation and rise from the bottom,” said Stark at a virtual press conference on Wednesday (17/02/21) ahead of the upcoming home match against RasenBallsport Leipzig. herthabsc.de sums up what the big centre-half had to say.

Niklas Stark on...

...his individual statistics: Those statistics aren’t especially important to me, but it’s nice to hear about them. Still though, I’d prefer to have played less minutes if it meant that we had a few more points in the bank. Obviously, though, I’m happy to have featured so often.

…his development as a defensive midfielder: I’ve been back playing as a centre-back recently, and that’s where I imagine I’ll be playing in the next few games too. Then we’ll have to wait and see what the coaches’ long-term plans for me are. I play wherever the coach thinks will give us the best chance of winning. I will give it my all, regardless of whether that’s in defence or in central midfield. Playing those games in midfield was a good experience for me. It never hurts to play in a more advanced position; it gives you a new perspective regarding space and passing.

…the lack of success from set pieces: We’ve not done badly defending set pieces in recent games, even if we conceded a stupid goal from a dead ball in Stuttgart. Stuttgart fooled us with a little trick. We had to defend that better, but recently we have been much more solid at set pieces. Overall this season, though, we have conceded too many goals from set pieces. We have to work on that, clearly. Both offensively and defensively we have to attack the ball with more force and determination. As a team we all have to admit that we’ve not scored enough goals from set pieces.

…head coach Pál Dárdai: Pál is Pál. Everybody knows who he is. Pál hasn’t changed much. He is a football man through and through, he knows what’s going on with us and what we need. The coach knows what matters. He just sees us and knows exactly what is going through our heads. We work on these things every day in training.

Taking the lead: vice-captain Niklas Stark.

…the current state of the table: We will all give it everything to avoid relegation. Everyone can look at the table and see that we need points. Together, we all have the desire to get out of this situation and rise from the bottom. We will approach the next few games with the belief that we will get some points, even if our opponents are strong. Collecting points is the most important thing, that’s what everybody has to focus on. Only then can we show that we can play nice football. In general, I try not to look at the table too much, although we obviously notice when other teams in the bottom third pick up points. We also have to be realistic and evaluate the table to see what we need to get out of this situation. 
…the home game against RasenBallsport Leipzig: We ought to have earned a little luck in the last few games. We put in good displays and now we have to get the three points as a reward for our efforts. Obviously RasenBallsport Leipzig are a strong opponent, but why shouldn’t we get points against them? That’s the attitude we’re taking into this match.
Sami Khedira: I’ve said to Sami that he should tell me if he sees anything I can do better on the pitch. He’s played a lot of matches in his career, he’s seen a lot. He’s somebody who commands respect, I always listen to what he has to say. I trust him. We are here to be successful. Sami can even help us from the outside when he’s sitting on the bench, and he can put his mark on games too. I speak with him regularly.
…the new '11FREUNDE' campaign, promoting diversity in football: I am always up for action like this. Dedryck Boyata and  I took part. We have to make a clear statement and take these things seriously, regardless of whether it is racism or homophobia, so I am happy to be able to contribute.

…the current state of the table: We will all give it everything to avoid relegation. Everyone can look at the table and see that we need points. Together, we all have the desire to get out of this situation and rise from the bottom. We will approach the next few games with the belief that we will get some points, even if our opponents are strong. Collecting points is the most important thing, that’s what everybody has to focus on. Only then can we show that we can play nice football. In general, I try not to look at the table too much, although we obviously notice when other teams in the bottom third pick up points. We also have to be realistic and evaluate the table to see what we need to get out of this situation.

…the home game against RasenBallsport Leipzig: We ought to have earned a little luck in the last few games. We put in good displays and now we have to get the three points as a reward for our efforts. Obviously RasenBallsport Leipzig are a strong opponent, but why shouldn’t we get points against them? That’s the attitude we’re taking into this match.

…Sami Khedira: I’ve said to Sami that he should tell me if he sees anything I can do better on the pitch. He’s played a lot of matches in his career, he’s seen a lot. He’s somebody who commands respect, I always listen to what he has to say. I trust him. We are here to be successful. Sami can even help us from the outside when he’s sitting on the bench, and he can put his mark on games too. I speak with him regularly.

…the new '11FREUNDE' campaign, promoting diversity in football: I am always up for action like this. Dedryck Boyata and  I took part. We have to make a clear statement and take these things seriously, regardless of whether it is racism or homophobia, so I am happy to be able to contribute.

Teams, 17.02.2021
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