Manuel Veth –
Hertha vs Borussia Dortmund – Saturday, November 30, 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany
November revolution in Berlin. On Tuesday, Hertha sacked head coach Ante Cović and installed Jürgen Klinsmann. The former US men’s national team coach was appointed as a member of the board by investor Lars Windhorst.
Overall, Windhorst has pumped €250 million into the club. For Hertha, an important step to pay off debts and also make investments into the squad. But a poor start with just 11 points from the first 12 games meant that the board decided to part ways with Cović, who replaced long-serving head coach Pal Dardai this summer.
Under Cović, the risk had simply become too high for Hertha to be relegated in what will be the club’s most crucial season in recent history. Klinsmann is now supposed to steady the ship when a new permanent head coach, the club, is dreaming of signing former Bayern head coach Niko Kovač next summer. It is a small revolution in Berlin. Like it was the case at the German national team in 2004, Klinsmann replaced the entire staff at the capital club, bringing in former Werder coach Alexander Nouri, Markus Feldhahn, and national team goalkeeper coach Andreas Köpke to support him.
“It isn’t just about chance, but about getting points and climbing up the table,” Klinsmann said this week. The 55-year-old sees himself more like a project manager with his assistants doing most of the on-field work during practice. “I like it when my assistants are loud on the field, the players will hear me often enough,” Klinsmann explained this week.
On the field, Klinsmann will be tasked to get the most out of Hertha’s most expensive squad in history. Dodi Lukebakio was the club’s most expensive signing in history, but never completely took off in Berlin and midfielder Marko Grujić has also struggled. Both will be crucial if Jürgen Klinsmann wants to have any success during his tenure in the capital.
Hertha then have pulled the trigger and replaced their coach. Their opponents Borussia Dortmund are still under direction by under pressure Lucien Favre. The Dortmund coach seemed all but gone after a disappointing performance against Paderborn on Friday. The Black and Yellows were taken apart in the first 45 minutes, but Favre’s job was saved by a second half that saw Dortmund salvage a draw.
What followed was an annual general meeting in which boos and whistles greeted the team—a first in Dortmund where supporters warmly greeted even Jürgen Klopp’s side that was briefly in the last place during the 2014/15 season.
Next came the 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League. At first glance, it is not surprising for any side to lose in Barcelona. But Barca are no longer the powerhouse of years past, and once again, it was a disappointing first half that was followed by a better second interval. Dortmund have always been a team with two faces, the club that plays brilliant football but can also falter in the most unlikely scenarios, especially against minnows.
Under Favre this year, the squad has taken it to new extremes. Dortmund are often brilliant in the second half; after they have received a beating in the first 45 minutes. But that part is only part of the story. Issues with superstars Jadon Sancho and Mario Götze, in particular, have hurt the club. Then there is the fact that under Favre Dortmund have forgotten to defend—even Hummels struggled against Barcelona.
In the light of all that, it seems complicated for the Dortmund bosses to continue with Favre unless results improve right away. It is a moment of truth than in the capital, both for Hertha under new head coach Klinsmann but also for Dortmund under Favre, who by all means has one final game to salvage his Dortmund career.
Hertha vs Borussia Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Marko Grujić #15 – Hertha Berlin
Marko Grujić has struggled in recent games for Hertha and against Leipzig was benched for the full 90 minutes by former head coach Cović. He then played 70 minutes in the 4-0 loss to Augsburg. The Serbian is visibly out of form at the moment, which is a big problem for Hertha, who rely heavily on the midfielder. Klinsmann’s number one task is to get Grujić’s confidence back up, with him playing better the results will also improve.
Jadon Sancho #7 – Borussia Dortmund
Jadon Sancho had to start the game off the bench against Barcelona. “We need players on the pitch who are focused and ready,” Lucien Favre said about Sancho ahead of the Barcelona game. It later emerged that Sancho had once again been late to a club meeting. Not the first time for the attacking winger, who has had problems with discipline throughout his Dortmund career. When things go well, however, discipline problems are often overlooked, with Dortmund struggling Sancho has become a scapegoat of sorts. The problem is that he is also Dortmund’s most crucial impact player at the moment. Against Barcelona, he came on and had an impact right away. Nonetheless, the Independent, which has largely hit in miss when it comes to Bundesliga news, is now reporting that Sancho could be on his way out in January. A scenario that only seems impossible on a first glance.
Hertha vs Borussia Dortmund – Match Stats
- Dortmund and Frankfurt are the only two clubs that have not conceded a goal from a shot outside the box.
- Hertha are the team with the most goals conceded from outside the box (6).
- Salomon Kalou had a brace in both his games against Dortmund last season. The most after Lorenz Horr, who from 1970 to 1971, managed to score a brace in three games against Dortmund.
- Hertha’s home record against Borussia Dortmund: W14 D9 L9.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Hertha vs Borussia Dortmund – 2-1
Hertha vs Borussia Dortmund – Lineups
Kraft – Mittelstädt, Torunarigha, Stark, Klünter – Darida, Grujić – Wolf, Duda, Dilrosun – Lukebakio
Head Coach: Jürgen Klinsmann
Bürki – Schulz, Akanji, Hummels, Hakimi – Witsel, Weigl – Sancho, Reus, Hazard – Brandt
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.