Football

German Bundesliga: The transformation of the team from Berlin

German club Hertha Berlin have indeed come a long way in the past couple of seasons. Hertha finished 15th in the Bundesliga in the 2014-15 season, narrowly escaping relegation from the Bundesliga. The 2015-16 season was much better for them where they progressed to finish 7th and the 2016-17 season has been so far really positive for them as they currently sit at 2nd place in the Bundesliga.

All clubs in the top 5 leagues of Europe with the exception of the German Bundesliga have a team based in the capital. The 2015-16 was turning out to be a positive one for the Berliners and a Champion League spot was not far from achievable. They were fairly consistent as well as they were constantly in the top 3 of the Bundesliga most of the time.

The 2015-16 season in a nutshell

The team maintained their good form going into the winter break. The team had won 10, lost 5 and drawn 2 of their 17 Bundesliga fixtures. Manager, Pal Pardei’s team had surprised the other teams in the Bundesliga with their performances. However, they slipped down steadily after the winter break and produced the third worst Bundesliga record in history.

The team had fairly good statistics for the season with an average of 50% possession and a 79% pass completion rate. Salomon Kalou turned out to be one of the best strikers in the league after a disappointing debut season. Back-up goalie June Jarstein who won the starting spot from Thomas Kraft had a save percentage of 77% with only Bayern’s Manuel Neuer having a better record. All seemed to be going well for them but the team managed only 6 out of possible 24 points against 8 bottom-placed teams in the league. They lost against Bremen when they were 3-1 up and also against Hannover, Hoffenheim and Darmstadt where they were a goal up each and went on to lose the game. Collapses in these games itself cost the team 10 points and by the end of the season, 4th place Borussia Moenchengladbach were just 5 points ahead of Hertha.

Hertha Berlin's Bosnian forward Vedad Ibisevic (C) celebrate scoring his side's 2nd goal from the penalty 

The 2016-17 season so far

The Berliners have had a swansong season so far. The team has been simply brilliant and a few statistics will illustrate the same.

The team has employed a direct attacking playing style and have had a 75% pass completion. The team on average has won 13.8 fouls per game and have had at least 4 shots on target. These numbers clearly highlight the attacking instincts prevalent in the squad. Their high-pressing game forces their opponents into committing mistakes which leads to them winning back possession of the ball.

The team began their Bundesliga season with three wins in a row. First, a 2-1 win over Freiburg, followed that up with another 2-0 win over Ingolstadt and then another 2-0 win over Schalke. Next, the team lost 3-0 against Bayern, played out an exciting 3-3 draw against Frankfurt and won 2-0 against Hamburg. The team has performed fairly solid in these games and have made their mark amongst the very best in the league.

What does the future hold for the Berliners?

The team began their 2016-17 season without any expectations after what happened in the second half of the 2015-16 season. They had to build themselves back up from scratch and have done that with panache. This rise has been quite impressive for a team who were almost relegated 2 seasons ago and is now being seen as genuine top 4 finisher. The team needs to just hold their nerve in the crucial junctures of the season and perform well in big games. The 3-0 loss against Bayern was a reality check for them and the match 7 against Dortmund on Friday night will be another game to test their mettle against tough opponents. The team as a unit function effectively and if they continue with their current approach to the game, they really are a team which is capable of putting a team from the German capital city in the top 4 and establish their status as one of the better teams in Europe.

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