‘We can make Hertha ease off’

Mitchell Weiser joined the Werkself from Hertha Berlin in the summer. The 25-year-old returns to his old stomping ground this Saturday as Bayer 04 battle with Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt for a place in the Champions League next term. Ahead of the match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Mitchell was very pragmatic in his interview with

Hello, Mitch. You’re up against your former team-mates on Saturday afternoon. There’s a lot riding on the game for the Werkself. What sort of reunion are you expecting at your previous club where you spent three years?
Weiser: To be honest – we have to win and I’m trying to ignore everything else. We have to be fully-focused on the game.

You’re in a race with Gladbach and Frankfurt to qualify for the UEFA Champions League in the coming season. You’re just two goals behind the crucial fourth spot going into the final matchday. Gladbach have to play the title challengers Borussia Dortmund, Frankfurt are away to FC Bayern while you appear to have the easiest game against Hertha.
Weiser: We’ve just got to look after ourselves. Schalke didn’t have much to play for last weekend – and yet they still gave all they could to get a result at the BayArena. It definitely won’t be any different against (Hertha) Berlin. There are no easy games in the Bundesliga. Anyone who plays football wants to win. And it’s Pal Dardai’s last game as the Hertha coach – he’ll want to say goodbye to the Berlin fans with a win and he’s sure to motivate his lads. We have to be prepared for that.

So you don’t expect the Berliners to ease off?
Weiser: No, Hertha definitely won’t make it easy for us. But perhaps we can make Hertha ease off if we are on the front foot from the start. I experienced that two years ago when Bayer 04 won 6-2 at Hertha… I think we just didn’t have the energy. But you have to work hard to make the opponent tire, take your chances and spoil it for them.

Is there a special match plan?
Weiser: Our style of play is always offensive and we try and attack the opposition box whatever the score. The most important thing is we succeed in scoring goals again to win the game in the end.

…and do you need a bit of help or can you make up the two goals on Gladbach under your own steam to finish the season in fourth place.
Weiser: Yes. But, as I said, we have to win our game against Hertha. And then we’ll have to see what happens in the end. Whichever team finishes fourth on Saturday night deserves to be there. Of course, I hope it’s us.

The Werkself just missed out on qualifying for the Champions League last season. Then it was only three goals less than Dortmund and four less than Hoffenheim in terms of goal difference.
Weiser: We all know what’s at stake. You could feel that in the dressing room all week. Unfortunately, we dropped points against Schalke last weekend – but otherwise we’ve had a good second half of the season. We want to get our rewards for that effort.

You’re right about that: After matchday 18 you were seven points and 17 goals away from fourth place...
Weiser: Yes, it would be incredible after the first half of the season that wasn’t very good at all. It would be a massive success for us if we finish fourth. But first of all we have to beat Hertha. We’re all up for the game and we believe in ourselves.



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