Stumbling Towards the FinishBy: Abby | December 3rd, 2010
It was a cruise, and now we’re a bit seasick.
From a season with no losses, and only two draws, we’re now looking at the end of a November with three defeats and one win. And not exactly defeats to strong teams, either- 14th-placed VfL Osnabrück and 12th-placed SC Paderborn are among our vanquishers. We’ve dropped down to third, and while that’s not cause to panic yet, it’s definitely cause for concern.
So what’s going on?
Really, Hertha just aren’t playing well. The strikers are misfiring, the midfielders aren’t creating enough, and other teams are finding it too easy to figure us out. Babbel wonders if the team are ‘comfortable and lazy’ after the good start. But tactics are also an issue, with a growing sense that the players aren’t being deployed in the way that makes the most sense for them. (And injuries don’t help, of course, especially to Mijatovic, which robs us of defensive solidity at the time we need it most.)
There is definitely worry around, especially as the financial results were just announced. Considering it’s Hertha, and considering the relegation, I’m not at all surprised that they were bad. But they make it feel like this is basically the best shot we have at getting promoted. The financials won’t get any better with another year in the 2. Liga. If we can’t make it now, who knows when we will? And what Hertha will be then?
There are three games left before the winter break. Sunday it’s a visit to Munich for 1860, a team who knows a few things about the costs of relegation and financial difficulties in general. The Bavarians aren’t in the best recent form either, although in better than us, with two draws and a 1-0 loss in the last three games. They’ve also just announced that salaries will be dropping by 10% across the board at the club, including players. There but for the grace of God, etc., etc. With things the way they are, both teams probably think it’s a good time to play the other.
Player-wise, there are a few cracks. New father Christian Lell has the flu. Youngster Sebastian Neumann has a foot injury. And something is wrong with Raffael’s calf. The loss of Raffael is a particular blow, as Babbel was working on retinkering the tactical situation around the Brazilian.
It’ll be interesting to see what is come up with in Munich.