Fighting For the TopBy: Abby | December 17th, 2010
It’s the last game of the year tomorrow, and you can’t really hope for a better one. Or a more important one, for that matter. It’s a table-topping clash in the 2. Bundesliga, fighting for the winter championship, and also for non-meaningless things like eventual promotion.
After a stumbling few weeks, Hertha seemed to find their feet last weekend in another top-half game, against Erzgebirge Aue. Against Aue they looked like the Hertha of the first half of the season, the one that swept all comers and looked a complete certainty for automatic promotion. Of course, in the month prior, we looked like anything but that team. And that’s the question for tomorrow.
Augsburg had their own slump, but it was back in September and October and they’ve been on fire since then, unbeaten since October 22. Ex-Herthaner Nando Raphael has scored 9 goals so far, which is never something you want to hear. They’re a strong team eager for promotion, having missed out on it last year through the playoff. We’ve got to be at our top form to take them down and go into the winter break with our best chance of promotion.
The other question for tomorrow is about the goalkeeper. Sejna is back after his suspension, but there’s talk that Burchert will keep the spot. He did well against Aue, and he’s young enough to be promising. What is more worrying is that it seems that Mikael Aerts’ injury will take longer to heal, with rumors that we’ll need to sign Michael Rensing for the next half of the season.
Also worrying is the conduct/words of young Austrian Daniel Biechler, who looked to be a smart signing at the beginning of the season, but then got injured and hasn’t been seen since. Well, apparently he’s fit, playing in the reserves, and is annoyed that Markus Babbel doesn’t talk to him. That interview has now cost him €5,000, as he was hit with a fine and told that he “definitely” isn’t in the squad for Augsburg.
But the Biechler situation will have to wait. Right now, the focus can only be on Augsburg. It’s a big game, daunting as we have to go there, but it’s not impossible. The Aue result has to have helped confidence, as well as having Andre Mijatovic back and directing the defense, a role he will continue to play tomorrow. Peter Niemeyer is also back. Babbel is still a bit coy about the position of Lasogga, who has been in fine form lately. If you’re good enough you’re old enough, I tend to think, but I don’t need to deal with the subtleties of keeping a young player from getting too far ahead of himself/injured. And speaking of Pierre-Michel and age, happy birthday to him! He turned 19 on Wednesday.
Speaking of promising young players, Patrick Ebert has returned to training! It was a major coup keeping him in Berlin after the relegation, only to have him injure himself in the preseason and be out until now. But he’s back, he’s just about fit, and he has a ridiculous new haircut to go along with it. Augsburg is too early, but I’m sure he’ll be a major part of the second half of the season.
With a little luck (and hopefully no more snow) I’ll be on a plane during the game, so here’s hoping for good news when I get back to the States.