Berlin - Spectators may have looked a bit confused on Tuesday morning (22.10.19) as they observed head coach Ante Covic’s side take part in their first training session of the week on the Schenckendorffplatz. After all, there were several Herthaner missing from the squad out on the the training ground. However, Vladimir Darida, Salomon Kalou, Mathew Leckie and Thomas Kraft’s absences can all be easily explained: the Herthaner were taking part in a concussion baseline test. The test checks various neurological functions such as reaction time and memory retention, and is part of preventative measures meant to prevent head injuries in professional football. “We split the lads up into different groups, and this was the last one to go. The tests are very extensive and take at least an hour per player. However, they are important in ensuring the health of the players,” said head coach Covic. Meanwhile, Maurice Covic and Daishawn Redan were given an extra day off after having featured for the U23s over the weekend.
Stark and Löwen making progress
Despite missing several of their teammates, the Herthaner started into training with their focus fully on their upcoming match against TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday (26.10.19 at 15:30 CEST). “That’s our next challenge. I’m not interested yet in our matches against Dresden or Union in the upcoming weeks,” said Covic. The 44-year-old was able to share some good news in regards to Niklas Stark and Eduard Löwen, who were both working individually with fitness coach Hendrik Vieth. “Things are looking really good for Nik, we’ve been able to up the intensity for him. We’ll have a look and see when he will be able to return, but it’s likely that he will be back in team training this week. The same could be true for Edu by the end of the week,” the head coach shared about a possible return for both players. It remains to be seen whether the duo will be fit to face Hoffenheim.
There’s no need for Covic to warn his squad about their upcoming opponent on matchday 9 in the Olympiastadion. “Any team that can win in Munich and defeat Schalke must be good. But, we don’t need to diminish our abilities. It will be important for us to use the space that Hoffenheim’s back three will make available to us, and that we use our chances efficiently,” said Covic. The head coach is looking to work on finishing with his attackers during training on Tuesday afternoon. “We will practice shooting with our attackers while the defenders are in the weight room. At the same time, Ondrej Duda, Peter Pekarik and Rune Jarstein will be taking the concussion test.” Winger Mathew Leckie will be back with his teammates after having sat out the match against Bremen with muscle issues he picked up during the international break.
Home game against Hoffenheim
Arne Meier and Sidney Friede will both be missing from the squad when they head to the Schenckendorffplatz for training tomorrow at 10:00 CEST. Aside from those two, all other players should be able to take part in the closed training sessions this week, as well as Friday’s final session (at 15:30 CEST) ahead of Hertha’s clash with Hoffenheim.