- Hertha were third at the halfway point.
- Struggled to replicate form after winter break.
- The Old Lady finished seventh and will have to go through Europa League qualifying.
Hertha Berlin threatened a top-four finish for long stretches, but ran out of steam towards the end of 2015/16. bundesliga.com looks back on a season of two halves for the Old Lady.
Season in a nutshell
Hertha’s season started so well, and they maintained their momentum through to the winter break, winning ten and drawing two of their first 17 league fixtures. Coach Pal Dardai's men surprised many with their third place come Christmas, and did so again as their form melted away, producing the third-worst Rückrunde in the Bundesliga.
Hertha's seventh-placed finish means the summer break will be a short one, with the two-legged UEFA Europa League play-off scheduled for the end of July. Nonetheless, with pre-season predictions placing the capital club among those threatened with the drop, the campaign was a "wonderful success" according to Dardai.
Top three games
MD16: SV Darmstadt 0-4 Hertha Berlin
The 4-0 defeat of Darmstadt was not only Hertha’s biggest win of the season, it also propelled them into third place.
MD20: Hertha Berlin 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
Hertha made it six games without defeat by holding free-scoring Borussia Dortmund in check, and even had the better chances.
MD26: Hertha Berlin 2-0 FC Schalke 04
Up against fellow top-four contenders Schalke, Hertha secured a 2-0 win that kept them – and their fans – dreaming of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Rune Jarstein had been unable to dislodge Thomas Kraft as Hertha’s number one since his arrival in early 2014, and went into the 2015/16 season behind the former FC Bayern München man. A injury to Kraft on Matchday 5 gave Jarstein his chance, and he seized it with both gloved hands. Equally at ease on his line or coming out to claim high balls, the 31-year-old’s ability to use his feet to good effect also helped Dardai’s men keep possession.
What is next?
With a European challenge to mount, Hertha will look to strengthen over the summer, adding players to the squad before they begin pre-season training on 3 July. With a host of players involved in tournaments with their national teams, Dardai will be hoping the new arrivals can gel quickly when those players return.
For bundesliga.com reporter Andre Anchuelo, it arrived on Sunday, 20 December: Hertha gave their fans an early Christmas present, rounding off their best first-half to a season for seven years with a 2-0 win over 1. FSV Mainz 05, and making third place their own for the winter break.