Many of the problems in Hertha's disastrously disappointing season can be traced back to the fact that the preferred center half partnership of Dedryck Boyata and Jordan Torunarigha haven't been able to remain concurrently healthy.
Torunarigha remains on track for a comeback, but this weekend's match against Wolfsburg still comes too soon.
|Jordan Torunarigha.||Photo: Steindy, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Hertha head-coach Pal Dardai reserved some strong words for center back Omar Alderete after this weekend. The 44-year-old Hungarian trainer remains dissatisfied with the manner in which the Paraguayan defender disobeyed instructions and played through the middle too often.
Neither Dardai nor predecessor Bruno Labbadia have been able to find a solution in central defense this year. Ever since the club's defeat in the first round of the 2020/21 DFB Pokal in September, it's been readily apparent that the team remains far too porous at the back. Builds from the final third also look less than convincing.
Much of this could be ameliorated if Belgium's Dedryck Boyata and Germany's own Jordan Torunarigha could remain healthy and rekindle a bit of their form from last season. At present, the 23-year-old German has only featured in eight fixtures whilst the Rode Duivels star has managed only 12. They've started together on only four occasions.
Niklas Stark has often filled in at the back, but the 25-year-old's absence from a more advanced sweeper position often renders the midfield suspiciously deficient. Alderete, who has had problems beyond that which Dardai chose to criticize him for all season, hasn't exactly been a serviceable replacement for the departed Karim Rekik.
"Die alte Dame" nearly find themselves clear of a brutal February string of fixtures that many expected would plunge them into the relegation zone. Once clear of Wolfsburg, Dardai's men will have a chance to pick up three points against Augsburg and potentially nick a point off of either Dortmund or Leverkusen. In April they face almost exclusively teams from the bottom half of the table.
Torunarigha's return this weekend has been ruled out. At a Thursday presser, however, Dardai updated the assembled media on the German defenders progress, strongly suggesting that he should be fully fit in time for round 24. It's been three weeks since the club said that they would re-evaluate the progress of Boyata's recovery from a foot injury. News of his return should emerge soon.
The Hertha head-coach attempted to use a back-three consisting of Stark, Lukas Klünter, and teenage son Marton Dardai over the weekend. The time when he can build a solid back-four anchored by two of his best athletes appears to draw nearer.