Stuttgart - Hertha BSC

Germany: Bundesliga
Stuttgart S. Kalajdzic (45)
Mercedes-Benz-Arena1-1
Hertha BSC L. Netz (82)
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Dardai commits to Tousart and Ascacibar in midfield: "We have to build an axis"

By Peter Vice

Hertha trainer Pal Dardai discussed the midfield axis he hopes to build at a Thursday press conference. 

Pal Dardai.
Pal Dardai.Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0

World Cup winner Sami Khedira will get a chance to make his 100th Bundesliga appearance against VfB Stuttgart. The 33-year-old will not, however, be in the starting XI against his former club. 


New Hertha coach Pal Dardai declared himself satisfied with Khedira's progress in training, yet declined to rush the veteran into the lineup selection. Dardai did not rule out working Khedira into his strategy at some point. 

In an interview earlier in the week, Dardai stood up for the much-maligned Tousart, saying that the high-priced French acquisition "had a clear path to regular contributions for the club."

The capital city gaffer also liked what he saw from the returning Santiago Ascacibar. Both players were acquired by Jürgen Klinsmann in the January 2020 transfer window. Tousart wouldn't arrive until the summer and Ascacibar has been hurt throughout much of the season's first half. They were finally paired together when Dardai took over two weeks ago.

"In my eyes, they worked good together against Frankfurt and Bayern," Dardai told reporters, "You have to give them both this chance. We must solidify strong [partnerships] and build an axis."

The brutal February fixture list continues to threaten beleaguered Hertha with a drop into the relegation zone. After Stuttgart, the struggling club must face Leipzig and Wolfsburg. 


Dardai insisted that his players retained a jovial mood despite the pressure of picking up crucial points after four straight league losses. 

When asked how the team prepared to face towering Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic, Dardai joked that his players spent most of the week bouncing. "They even bounce on their way to lunch," he added sardonically.


Stuttgart
(3-4-3)
1Gregor Kobel
5Konstantinos Mavropanos
16Atakan Karazor
2Waldemar Anton
14Silas Wamangituka ↩68
23Orel Mangala
3Wataru Endo (C)
24Borna Sosa
20Philipp Förster ↩86
9Sasa Kalajdzic ↩86
11Erik Thommy ↩68
Bench
33Fabian Bredlow
15Pascal Stenzel
35Marcin Kamiński
7Tanguy Coulibaly ↪68
10Daniel Didavi ↪68
21Phillipp Klement
29Alkhaly Momo Cissé ↪86
31Mateo Klimowicz ↪86
32Naouirou Ahamada
Hertha BSC
(4-3-3)
22Rune Jarstein
2Peter Pekarík ↩79
5Niklas Stark (C)
14Omar Alderete
17Maximilian Mittelstädt ↩79
29Lucas Tousart
8Mattéo Guendouzi
18Santiago Ascacíbar ↩58
11Dodi Lukebakio
9Krzysztof Piątek ↩58
10Matheus Cunha
Bench
1Alexander Schwolow
13Lukas Klünter
31Márton Dárdai
32Luca Netz ↪79
6Vladimír Darida
7Mathew Leckie ↪79
23Eduard Löwen
24Nemanja Radonjić ↪58
28Sami Khedira ↪58

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