The Hertha players were greeted by cold winds on Thursday morning as they began their opening training session of 2019 at Schenckendorffplatz in Berlin. The squad began 2019 at a fast pace in the cold conditions. Ondrej Duda scored the first Hertha goal of the year in training. Just before the session started, Blue-Whites head coach Pál Dárdai held a brief meeting with the players to open the calendar year. "I wished the players a happy and successful new year both on and off the pitch and now we can fully concentrate on football and achieving our goals," said Dárdai with a smile and added: "It is important for us to stay healthy if we are to achieve our goals."
Stark and Klünter return to team training
The Hungarian welcomed two players back to team training after time out with injuries. Niklas Stark and Lukas Klünter both returned to team training on Thursday. Meanwhile, Karim Rekik, Marko Grujić, Javairô Dilrosun and Salomon Kalou all trained individually as they battle back from injury. "Marko still hasn’t received the green light to train with us again yet. We have to wait a bit longer for that," admitted Dárdai after the session. Teammate Karim Rekik’s situation is much better and the Dutchman could return to team training next week. "However, we won’t place Karim under any pressure. Recoveries from muscle injuries can take time," reported the Hertha coach. Salomon Kalou, who missed the end of the first half of the season with a cut, must complete a final test with athletics coach Hendrik Vieth before returning to training. "He will return once he has completed this test," said an optimistic Dárdai, who will welcome Dilrosun back to training very soon too. "He will participate in a muscle test and then return to action."
Derrick Luckassen is currently the subject of enquries and approaches from PSV Eindhoven, who Hertha loaned the defender from last summer. Mathew Leckie is currently on international duty with Australia at the Asian Cup. "Lecks suffered a muscle strain in Leverkusen before the international break started. From now until the beginning of February, it is up to the Australian FA to decide whether Mathew will feature at the Asian Cup," said Dárdai.