The trainer demands more resilience from the team away from home, the pros take responsibility for themselves. Hertha BSC brought home exactly zero points from the last eight Bundesliga business trips. That should change in Freiburg on Saturday.
When does it go better abroad? Hertha captain Marvin Plattenhardt.
Marvin Plattenhardt applies the principle of probability. “The longer the away streak goes on,” says Hertha’s captain, “the greater our chance of ending it. We have a good chance in Freiburg and of course we want to score points there.” The omens are somewhat bleak: while SC Freiburg is unbeaten eleven home games in a row for the first time in its club history, the Berliners lost all of their eight most recent games on a foreign pitch. Hertha last had such a streak in 2016/17, when Pal Dardai lost nine away games in a row – it was the longest Berlin minus streak of this kind within a season, but in view of sixth place in the final classification there was no malaise at the time existential scale. This is different now. The current record of horror brings the club, which is the weakest away team in the league with just four points, to the brink of the abyss in sporting terms. Five of the remaining nine league games are away, striker Florian Niederlechner confessed in this week’s kicker interview: “This away record is already a backpack.”
The difference in dealing with residues
Coach Sandro Schwarz used the league break during the most recent international match period for many discussions, one topic was the discrepancy between home and away appearances. “We analyzed data,” says Schwarz. “When you see them, it’s not that big of a difference. But you see how we handle certain situations away from home – that’s the biggest difference compared to our home games. When we were down in home games, we always felt like we were capable to turn the game in certain situations and phases.” Away, on the other hand, Hertha often did not react well to setbacks and deficits, for example to the two penalties conceded in Sinsheim against TSG Hoffenheim (1: 3), but before that at the start of the year in Bochum (1: 3) and at least in the first Half times in Frankfurt (0:3) and Leverkusen (1:4).
Stable in the task and tactically disciplined
Schwarz’ personal away record is also very expandable: He lost – with Hertha and before that Mainz 05 – 22 of his last 25 away games in the Bundesliga (two wins, one draw) with 18:68 goals. After all: Of his only seven wins in 51 away games, the coach managed one against Saturday’s opponent Freiburg (3-1 with Mainz on November 10, 2018). Even in the weak previous season, in which Hertha only saved themselves in the relegation – thanks to a 2-0 away win in the second leg at Hamburger SV in the second division – the Berliners had twelve away points in their account after 34 match days. Plattenhardt scored in Hamburg with a free kick to make it 2-0, he says before the next attempt to reverse the trend on Saturday in Freiburg: “We scored a few points at home, but unfortunately not away. We have to find the switch there.” And that as quickly as possible. Black has a pretty good idea of how to increase the probability of that. He demands “that each individual is stable in their task and shows tactical discipline. Mistakes often happen in this game. But how do you deal with them? That’s the decisive factor.” In other words: From now on, Hertha also wants to show its home side away from home. It would be necessary.