Hertha BSC’s first season in the group stages of a European competition since 2009 ended in disappointed as they finished bottom of a not so difficult group winning just one game. A solid but unspectacular season in the Bundesliga saw them finish in mid-table and never threaten either the top or bottom of league.
Main striker Salomon Kalou put in another good season finishing with 12 league goals. A disappointing exit to ultimately relegated FC Köln in the second round of the Pokal and the aforementioned Europa League exit meant that after Christmas it wasn’t the most exciting campaign for Hertha fans.
Managerial Background – Pál Dárdai
2018/19 will see Hungarian Pál Dárdai begin his fourth season in permanent charge of Hertha Berlin. His 6th and 7th placed finishes in the two seasons before the last were the highest finishing positions for Hertha since 2009 and he has secured not only Hertha’s place in the Bundesliga but made them outsiders for the European places in every season he has been in charge.
Pragmatic rather than expansive football is seen at the Olympiastadion but fans who saw their club relegated twice in three seasons at the turn of the decade aren’t complaining about that.
A quiet summer for Hertha saw them cash in for right-back Mitchell Weiser and winger Genki Haraguchi replacing them at a profit with Lukas Klünter from relegated FC Köln and Valentino Lazaro from RB Salzburg. Midfielder Marko Grujic arrived on loan from Liverpool Pascal Köpke will hope to ease the burden on striker Salomon Kalou after his arrival from 2.Bundesliga side Aue.
Without European football to distract them Hertha will be hoping to finish closer to the top than the bottom of the Bundesliga. A run at the European places is possible if everything falls into place for them, but for many another uneventful campaign that sees them stay well clear of the relegation places will be classed as a success. A run in the DFB Pokal is certainly possible after they got through a potentially tricky first round tie away to Eintracht Braunschweig.
Strongest XI: (3-4-3)
Jarstein – Stark, Rekik, Torunarigha – Plattenhardt, Duda, Maier, Mittelstädt – Kalou, Ibisevic, Lazaro.
By Thomas Pain.