Berlin (dpa) – There is no public point ultimatum. But also Ante Covic knows before the basement duel at FC Augsburg that another defeat would sharpen the misery again at Hertha BSC before the hammer-remainder of the preliminary round once again. With his own situation, however, the head coach of Berlin is outwardly relaxed. "Personally, I think I'm the last one to look after myself," said the 44-year-old before Sunday's game (15:30 / Sky). "At that moment, it's about us all, that we succeed as an association."
Under Covic, the capital club has lost the last three league games, is only one point ahead of the Swabians. "Of course this is not only an exciting game, but it is for both teams a lot at stake," said CEO Michael Preetz and Covic again expressed the trust. The club had wished that a lot faster go. "But we see every day how well and hard work is being done, and it's also logically our responsibility to support this work."
During the international break Preetz had demanded that "by Christmas" must be scored. This is basically "the mission", he emphasized – but without becoming more concrete. "I do not think it advisable to deal with the rest of the program." But this has it all. After Augsburg, it is only up to the winter break against teams from the current top half of the table: Borussia Dortmund (H), Eintracht Frankfurt (A), SC Freiburg (H), Bayer Leverkusen (A), Borussia MOnchengladbach (H).
In view of these tasks, the players also know about the importance of the game this weekend – and want to strengthen their ailing coach with an increase. "I would love to win a win for Ante on Sunday," said midfielder Marko Grujic of the "Berliner Morgenpost" (Friday). "It's also difficult for Ante at the moment, I've seen headlines calling for the next defeat or a new coach."
Also the Serb was recently in the low performance, but may now after the first absence in this season in a 2-4 draw against RB Leipzig hopes to return to the starting eleven. For Arne Maier, however, a starting line-up, according to Covic is still too early, the midfielder is after his injury break because of an inner ligament tear but at least again "an option" for the squad.
The past nine league games Hertha has not lost to Augsburg, but now threatens the fall behind the Swabians. And that, although FCA coach Martin Schmidt thinks the next opponent by the entry of financier Lars Windhorst, at least in the future, actually in a different quality class. "I believe that in the next few years Berlin can become a top act in league and should actually belong to the investments," said the Swiss.