When the 2009/10 Bundesliga season kicked off in August, most people expected to see Hertha Berlin build on what had been a highly successful previous campaign and attempt to mount another strong push for Champions League football. Having missed out on such a feat by just a point last term, not even their harshest critic would have predicted the spectacular fall from grace that has since befallen the team from the capital. Just 14 weeks into the campaign, last season’s title chasers are staring the very real prospect of relegation squarely in the face following a horrific run of form that has seen them go 13 league games without a win. While there have been no shortage of new talking points in recent weeks, the one recurring question on everyone’s lips remains – just where has it all gone wrong for Hertha BSC?
All looked pretty normal after the opening weekend of the season following a 1-0 home win over Hannover, but since that day the club have been in free fall mode and have never really looked like regaining control. A look at the table makes for glum viewing for Hertha fans, with their once high-flying side firmly rooted to the bottom with just five points, a full six behind second bottom Stuttgart. More worryingly for Coach Freidhelm Funkel, brought in to replace the out going Lucien Favre in early October, is the manner of his team’s defeats. Conceding goals has been a real problem with scoring them an equally taxing dilemma. A combination that if maintained usually only results in one outcome, relegation.
The goals conceded column after 14 weeks reads 30, meaning just over two goals a game have been shipped against Hertha. The root of that problem can be put down to both a bit of bad luck, and a bit of bad judgement. Injury troubles have meant that Funkel has used three different goalkeepers in his short reign in charge (Jaroslav Drobny, Timo Ochs and Sascha Burchet), not ideal for defensive consistency. While that can be argued as simply bad fortune, the decision to sell star centre-half and captain Josip Simunic to Hoffenheim is more commonly thought of by the fans as poor business. No notable replacement was brought in to cater for the Croatian’s loss and, given Simunic was voted last season’s best defender by some magazines and papers, it was clear his absence would have some negative affect on the team.
To overcome a leaky defence, you need a potent attack, something Hertha clearly do not have. Only shot shy K