Dress rehearsal time ahead of the Bundesliga's return! The Blue-Whites will be taking part in the H-Hotels Wintercup in the SchücoArena in Bielefeld this Saturday alongside hosts Arminia Bielefeld, Hannover 96 and 1. FC Köln. Pál Dárdai considers it to be the perfect opportunity to make sure his players are fully fit and prepared for their Bundesliga match against VfB Stuttgart the following week. “We want to have a good second half of the season. To do that, we have to get off to a decent start. The tournament this weekend is a very important part of our preparations,” said the Hertha head coach after training on Friday. Hertha captain Vedad Ibisevic is also looking forward to the tournament: “A friendly is good, but it is even better if we can prepare by competing in a tournament. We have a big squad but everyone will get some time on the pitch this weekend.”
Two different teams for two matches
Dárdai will make sure that each of his 22 squad players travelling to Bielefeld for the tournament will get at least 60 minutes of playing time under their belt. “The matches are going to be tough after an intense week of training,” he said. Mitchell Weiser and Karim Rekik will not be part of the squad for the Wintercup. “Mitch has been training individually and will return to team training in the next few weeks. Karim Rekik is also working on his fitness. I hope he will be ready to face Stuttgart, but we will have to wait and see,” explained the 41-year old. Thomas Kraft and Mathew Leckie returned to training just one day before the start of the tournament. Sinan Kurt also returned on Thursday after recovering from a bout of fever.
Arne Maier, Julius Kade, Palko Dárdai and Dennis Smarsch will not be travelling to Bielefeld for the Wintercup. “These players are currently representing the team at the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup,” explained the head coach.
Hertha to face Köln first
Each team will play one match of 30-minute halves to determine who will make it through to the final of the cup. The losing teams will then take part in a play-off for third place. Hertha BSC will face 1. FC Köln first on Saturday at 15:50 CET.