Youthful goalkeeper THOMAS KRAFT, who made his Bundesliga debut by starting a dozen games for Bayern Munich in the second half of last season prior to joining the German capital city club on a free transfer this summer, has been steady between the sticks this season for newly-promoted SC Hertha Berlin.
Deserved champions of the 2.Bundesliga last season, SC HERTHA BERLIN have done well for themselves thus far upon promotion to the German top flight. Die Blau-Weissen have lost just twice in their first eight matches and stand a respectable tenth in the Bundesliga at present. The journey to Bavaria presents a stiff challenge, however, as Hertha Berlin have not won in Munich since late October of 1977 — a span of almost exactly 34 years to the day.
But trainer MARKUS BABBEL did spend six seasons on defense with Bayern Munich before crossing the English Channel to sign with FC Liverpool once upon a time and also fields three former Bayern Munich players in his Startelf these days …
19-year-old striker PIERRE-MICHEL LASSOGA finished second on the club with 13 goals in the second division last term and, thanks to a brace in the last match against 1.FC Koeln, is joint top scorer for Hertha Berlin with three goals in Bundesliga this season. 25-year-old Colombia international striker ADRIAN RAMOS, who signed from America de Cali for a little over one million Euros in the summer of 2009 and scored 10 goals for Hertha Berlin his first campaign in the Bundesliga, headed die Blau Weissen with 15 goals in the 2.Bundesliga last season but has struck only once after six appearances back in the top flight so far. Both strikers have started four times as the central striker in Babbel’s formation this term.
Brazilian midfielder RAFFAEL (10) of Hertha Berlin, who has scored 20 goals in 87 Bundesliga matches for die Blau-Weissen since transferring from Swiss side FC Zurich in January of 2008, hops over the would-be tackle of Borussia Dortmund’s Germany international defender MATS HUMMELS during the Bundesliga match at Signal Iduna Park this past September in which the newly-promoted Blue-Whites managed to upend the defending German champions in their very own stadium.
The skillful 26-year-old Brazilian RAFFAEL also has scored three Bundesliga goals for Babbel’s club this season and is a key man in the central attacking midfield role. 21-year-old Turkey international TUNAY TORUN, who arrived via SV Hamburg on a free transfer this summer, has appeared six times with the Startelf for Hertha Berlin at left wing and scored two goals. 24-year-old PATRICK EBERT has been ever-present for the Blue-Whites on the right side in midfield this term.
27-year-old PETER NIEMEYER, who was purchased for 700,000 Euros from Werder Bremen this summer, and 26-year-old ANDREAS OTTL, who signed on a free transfer from Bayern Munich in the off-season, have started every game in defensive midfield for Hertha Berlin; Ottl scored on his debut for die Blau-Weissen in the 4-0 D.F.B. Pokal win over ZFC Meuselwitz earlier this summer.
23-year-old ANIS BEN HATIRA, who was signed from SV Hamburg on the very last day of August in exchange for 600,000 Euros, has found it extremely hard to find a place in midfield and has gotten just three games. All five appearances by Australia international NIKITA RUKAVYTSYA, the 24-year-old midfielder previously with Belgian club KSV Roeselare, have been as a substitute. 23-year-old FABIAN LUSTENBERGER, the former Switzerland U-21 international midfielder who has been with the German capital city club since 2007, has come off the bench four times for Hertha Berlin, as well.
Germany U-21 international FANOL PERDEDAJ, who made 16 appearances for die Blau-Weissen in the 2.Bundesliga last season, is also available for action.
Hertha Berlin midfielder ANDREAS OTTL, who made 92 apperances and scored five goals in the German top flight for Bayern Munich in five and a half seasons with the Bavarian club, attempts to avoid the challenge of Hannover 96′s Norway international striker MOHAMMED ABDELLAOUI during the Bundesliga match this past August at the AWD Arena in Lower Saxony.
23-year-old THOMAS KRAFT arrived on a free transfer from Bayern Munich this summer and has immediately displaced 35-year-old Dutch veteran MAIKEL AERTS, who was signed from Eredivisie side Willem II Tilburg to start last season, as first choice for Hertha Berlin; without question, Kraft will be looking to have a good showing for the visiting team at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
31-year-old Croatian club captain and center back ANDRE MIJATOVIC in addition to highly-experienced 34-year-old international left back LEVAN KOBIASHVILI, who has earned 100 caps and scored 12 goals for Georgia, anchor the defense and have started every game in all competitions for die Blau-Weissen. The regular right back is 27-year-old CHRISTIAN LELL, who made 65 appearances in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich before transferring to Hertha Berlin in June of 2010.
27-year-old Czech Republic international ROMAN HUBNIK reclaimed his position in the center of defense after the third match of this Bundesliga season from new arrival MAIK FRANZ, the 30-year-old veteran of 185 Bundesliga games for Vfl Wolfsburg, SC Karlsruhe and, most recently, Eintracht Frankfurt.
25-year-old former Brazil U-20 international RONNY, 26-year-old CHRISTOPH JANKER, who began his professional career with TSV 1860 Munich, and 21-year-old ALFREDO MORALES have all had little opportunity at the back with Hertha Berlin thus far.
Right back CHRISTIAN LELL (2), the youth product of Bayern Munich who led Hertha Berlin players with 33 starts in the 2.Bundesliga last term, races for the ball with Germany international winger KEVIN GROSSKREUTZ of defending champion Borussia Dortmund during the Bundesliga match this past September at Signal Iduna Park in North Rhine-Westphalia.
gk – Thomas KRAFT ————————————- fr Bayern Munich
df – Maik FRANZ —————————————— fr Eintracht Frankfurt
df – KAKA – Brazil —————————————- fr Sporting Braga (Port)
mf – Andreas OTTL ————————————— fr Bayern Munich
mf – Peter NIEMEYER ———————————- fr Werder Bremen
mf – Anis BEN HATIRA ——————————– fr SV Hamburg
mf – Tunay TORUN – Turkey int’l —————- fr SV Hamburg
mf – Daniel BEICHLER – Austria int’l ———— fr FC St. Gallen (Switz)
Beichler and Kaka had both been out on loan since last January
df – KAKA – Brazil ——————————————- to APOEL Nicosia (Cyp)
mf – Daniel BEICHLER – Austria int’l ————– to SV Ried (Aut)
mf – Marvin KNOLL —————————————– to Dynamo Dresden
mf – Sascha BIGALKE ————————————– to SpVgg Unterhaching
mf – Lennart HARTMANN ——————————- to Alemannia Aachen
fw – Valery DOMOVCHIYSKI – Bulgaria int’l — to MSV Duisburg
fw – Rob FRIEND – Canada int’l ———————— to Eintracht Frankfurt
Beichler, Kaka and Knoll are all out on loan for the 2011-12 season