Did the COVID break help Hertha?

After two weeks with no action due to a COVID-outbreak at the club, Hertha BSC are back, and firing on all cylinders. Their first performance back was a shaky defensive performance against in-form Mainz 05, but still a formidable one nonetheless. Svensson’s Mainz were on a three-game win streak, and holding the 05’ers to a 1-1 draw would have felt like a victory for Die Alte Dame. Now after a 3-0 victory over top-half SC Freiburg yesterday, Hertha Berlin have pulled themselves out of relegation danger.

Hertha Berlin were in control of their match against Freiburg on Thursday right from the very first whistle. While Christian Streich‘s team never got going, Pal Dardai’s team were in full flow, passing and moving on their way to an easy victory.

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Dardai adopted Mainz’s 3-1-4-2 formation earlier in the week to cope with their intense pressure, but against Freiburg the Hungarian made the decision to be proactive in playing a 4-3-3 against Streich’s 3-4-3. This proved to be a great decision, as HSBC dominated every area of the field. Santiago Ascacibar dominated from the heart of Hertha’s midfield, dictating the tempo of the game whilst adapting well in defensive transitions. The back-four eased their way throughout the game, bullying Freiburg’s lackluster front-three, while Schwolow made life difficult for the Breisgau-Brasilianer with four saves. The front-three were also in complete control, particularly Serbian wing wizard Nemanja Radonjic, who terrorized Freiburg’s back-three. Radonjic’s second-half solo goal to kill the game off was a work of art, while his dancing feet and cross for Peter Pekarik’s header oozed class. Krzysztof Piatek also made his presence felt and known, scoring the opening goal of the game through an easy tap-in finish.

Importantly, Hertha were able to showcase their depth – an important attribute to have at a time when your club has recently been hit by a COVID-outbreak. All five of the players that entered the match as substitutes were starters against Mainz. In other words, Dardai has a host of incredible options for his team moving forward and will certainly be able to continue to adapt systems and styles of play to combat the opposition. For now, Hertha BSC pull themselves into 14th place in the table, above Werder Bremen and Arminia Bielefeld on goal differential, but with a game in hand. Any fears of relegation have quickly been squashed, and Hertha should be able to go on and finish the season strong.

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