Berlin – The number of Herthaner returning to Berlin to rejoin the team was expected to gradually increase towards the start of the week. Ahead of today’s session, it was expected that 13 Herthaner would still be away on international duty, but there were a couple players that head coach Bruno Labaddia was expecting to see back on Monday already. Niklas Stark and Javairô Dilrosun took part in the 90-minute session, but Labbadia also had to deal with two unexpected injuries. Both Santiago Ascacíbar and Lukas Klünter had to end the session early due to injury. “Unfortunately, it’s how things go sometimes. In Lukas’ case it could be a bruised pelvis, with Santi it could be muscle related, which is common after returning from injury. We’re hoping that it’s nothing serious,” said Labbadia. Ruwen Werthmüller, Jonas Michelbrink and goalkeeper Marcel Lotka from the U23s, as well as U17s keeper Robert Kwasigroch joined the first team for training today.
Stark returns, Dilrosun making progress
But, the 54-year-old didn’t want to complain about the missing players due to the international break. Nils Körber (flu), as well as Marton Dárdai and Luca Netz, who took part in a internal friendly with the Germany youth sides this weekend, also missed out on the session. “Having three internationals means this break is a bit more intense. We need to check every day and see what’s happening, but we’re keeping positive and want to make the best of it,” said Labbadia, who is keeping a close watch on which of his players feature during the break or not. “I hope that they get lots of playing time. Maybe it’ll give some of them that extra push.” Labbadia made reference to Matheus Cunha, Jhon Córdoba, or even Dodi Lukébakio, all of whom are still waiting to make their senior debuts for their countries. “We need to see how the boys are dealing with the stress of travelling or the jetlag. It’s different for everyone,” he said. Labbadia is expecting to have the full squad return to take part in thorough video analysis sessions, instead of for training.
Instead, Labbadia is focusing on the positives, such as the return of Hertha’s No. 5 and No. 16. “The fact that Nik can play at several positions is priceless,” he said. Stark, who started the season in midfield, will likely move back into defence to replace an injury Jordan Torunarigha. Whether or not Javairô Dilrosun, who missed the first three Bundesliga games of the season with muscle issues, will feature remains to be seen. “It’s great to have him back. But, the most important thing now is that we proceed cautiously and he remains injury-free,” said Labbadia. When it comes to new signings Mattéo Guendouzi and Omar Alderete, the aim is to integrate them and get them up to speed as quickly as possible. “But, that’s unlikely to happen this week,” said Labbadia.
Hertha will face VfB Stuttgart at home this weekend (17/10/20, 15:30 CEST). It’s too soon to say which formation Labbadia will choose to send out onto the pitch, with the progress made over the next few days likely to inform his decision.