Jürgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin have already begun preparations for the second half of the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign. - © imago
Jürgen Klinsmann's Hertha Berlin have already begun preparations for the second half of the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign. - © imago
bundesliga

Jürgen Klinsmann: "Hertha Berlin are still in a relegation battle"

Jürgen Klinsmann insists relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin are "not out of the woods yet", despite ending the calendar on the back of a four-match unbeaten run.

Hertha were only above the relegation play-off spot on goals scored when Klinsmann stepped into the breach to replace Ante Covic on a deal through to the end of the season on 27 November 2019.

Since losing 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund on the former Germany, Bayern Munich and USMNT boss's debut, however, the Old Lady have recorded wins over Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen, whilst holding Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Mönchengladbach to draws.

They have climbed to 12th as a result, and will resume their survival bid with a four-point cushion on the bottom three - not that Klinsmann is getting carried away.

"We're still in the relegation battle," the 55-year-old told the Hertha website. "Everyone can see how tight the table is - there's only a few points between us and the relegation zone. We've picked up some good points in recent weeks and that’s given us a boost. However, we’re by no means out of the woods."

Watch: Jürgen Klinsmann on being back in the Bundesliga

Klinsmann's decision to reconvene with his team for fitness tests earlier than scheduled on 30 December - only nine days after the capital club held title-chasing Gladbach to a goalless draw - is indicative of how seriously he views Hertha's current standing.

On 2 January 2020, the German football legend will take a 25-man squad to Orlando, Florida for a 10-day warm weather training camp. The Old Lady are slated to face Bundesliga rivals Frankfurt in the annual Florida Cup, before returning home on 11 January and welcoming Bayern to the Olympic Stadium for their first competitive outing of the new year eight days later.

Hertha held the defending champions to a 2-2 draw in Munich on the opening day of the season, but that result proved a false down. Ten points from their subsequent 11 matches spelled the end for Covic, and a new beginning under Klinsmann, who had only recently taken up an advisory role at the club.

Although the upturn in fortunes on his watch has been marked - Hertha have kept three sheets in their first five matches under their new coach compared to one in 12 under his predecessor - Klinsmann has earmarked the Hertha attack for improvement. Only four teams have scored fewer goals than the Old Lady's 20 at the halfway stage in the 2019/20 campaign.

"Every day we work on the players' understanding of each other on the pitch and we want to continue to develop our team chemistry," Klinsmann explained. "We want to make improvements in attack, as I’ve said many times before and we’re taking that step by step. We also need to be realistic about what we need in our current situation, and we want to be creating more chances and scoring more goals.

"Everyone's obviously in a good mood because our last four games were all positive results, but we're still in a serious situation. We just want to pick up from where we left off and put ourselves in the best possible position for the start of the Rückrunde. We face Bayern at home and then travel to Wolfsburg - it's a tough run of fixtures and we need to do our homework."