Germany: Bundesliga
FT
1 - 1
(1 - 0)
Stuttgart
Hertha BSC
S. Kalajdzic (45)
L. Netz (82)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Dardai commits to Tousart and Ascacibar in midfield: "We have to build an axis"

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

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