Köln - Hertha BSC

Germany: Bundesliga
Köln
RheinEnergieStadion0-0
Hertha BSC
PreviewLineup

Gisdol and Labbadia with backs to the wall ahead of pivotal fixture

By Peter Vice

Two coaches on the hot-seat prepare for a critical showdown on Saturday. Hertha's Bruno Labbadia shall encounter difficulty building an XI from an injury-ravaged roster. Köln's Markus Gisdol faces what he knows may be his final game in charge of the Cathedral City club. 

Bruno Labbadia.
Bruno Labbadia.Photo: GEPA Pictures/Sven Sonntag

For two trainers in hot water, last weekend's results were nowhere near good enough. The continued underachieving of Hertha BSC might have been attributed to "growing pains" earlier in the season, but a completely anemic offensive performance against lowly Bielefeld justifiably calls the coaching acumen of Bruno Labbadia into question. A humiliating 0-5 defeat to Freiburg places the Kölner Geißböcke in the tenuous position of sticking with a failing trainer heading into an "Englischer Woche".


Speaking at a Thursday press conference, Markus Gisdol expressed the hope that his team might treat the recent rout as a "cleansing storm". The 51-year-old trainer reported many "open, honest, and constructive exchanges" with his players over the course of the week. He claimed to feel encouraged by the fact that his team took the defeat very seriously and stood focused on how they could avoid experiencing the same emotions again. Gisdol also declined to absolve himself of responsibility. 

"As a coach, you are the main culprit," he conceded, "That comes with my job title. I'm happy to shoulder the burden if it places less pressure on my players. It certainly wasn't the best performance from me."

Gisdol's team welcome a capital city club literally limping their way through league play on Saturday at the RheinEnergieStadion. Labbadia's "Alte Dame", already missing Dedryck Boyata, Javairo Dilrosun, Marvin Plattenhardt, and Eduard Löwen, shall also very likely to be without key offensive cogs Vladimir Darida and Matheus Cunha in what is an absolutely vital must-win for their club. In his own press conference, a weary-looking head-coach tempered his expectations. 

"I expect it to be a close game," Labbadia noted, "Whether the 0-5 result is meaningful, I don't know. I watched the game. It wasn't Freiburg totally dominating Köln, rather simply being effective." 

Both coaches agreed that the upcoming clash would have profound implications for their own respective tenures. Labbadia called it "a decisive juncture" whilst Gisdol noted that "the hour has struck". When asked whether he took the fact that the next fixture might be his last in charge of the club, Gisdol insisted that such a topic "would only cost me needless energy."


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