Hertha Berlin have once again secured the services of talented Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic on loan from English Premier League side Liverpool for the 2019/20 season. Former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp identified the Old Lady as the ideal place for the rising star to progress, but who is Grujic?
Club: Hertha Berlin (on loan from Liverpool)
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Serbia (eight caps)
Described as the future of Serbia’s midfield, Grujic’s potential is second to none, but he only truly settled into a team in the top five leagues at Hertha in 2018/19. He has represented Serbia at international level all the way from the U16s to the senior team, while his 6' 3" frame makes him a formidable force in the centre of midfield, where he prefers to be deployed. The Belgrade-born talent has made eight appearances for Liverpool without scoring and spent the 2017/18 season on loan in England’s second tier, the Championship, with Cardiff City. Making 13 appearances and scoring one goal, Grujic helped the Welsh side win promotion to the Premier League.
He improved on that return considerably when given the opportunity to flourish at Hertha last season. Grujic made 22 Bundesliga appearances, starting 20, despite spending three separate spells on the sidelines with ankle trouble. In short, when fit, he played - and it is easy to see why. Grujic registered five goals and one assist in his maiden Bundesliga campaign, winning 54.9 per cent of all his one-on-one duels. It is also hugely telling that Hertha won 10 league games with Grujic in the side in 2018/19; without him they only won once.
Watch: Grujic's first Bundesliga goal in a win over Eintracht Frankfurt
Plays a bit like: Leon Goretzka
He was initially compared to Serbia international Nemanja Matic when his talent first emerged, as a rangy midfield force. However, Grujic is much more of a box-to-box player, who can threaten in attack as much as he can help reinforce the defence. Like Bayern Munich's Goretzka, his height is an advantage when moving forward with the ball as his size and speed make him so difficult to dispossess. Comfortable in possession and with a wide passing range, Grujic can become the link between defence and attack at Hertha.
Did you know?
Grujic came through the famed youth academy of Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, and made his debut aged just 17. He was part of one of the club’s most successful teams ever as they notched 19 consecutive league wins on route to the league title in 2015/16.
What they’re saying
“I like the boy a lot. He’s made progress like hell. His heading is outstanding and I see a big future for him.” – Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp
"I've been at Hertha for 22 years. This isn't meant as an insult to anyone else, but Marko is by far the best midfielder I've seen in my time at the club." - Former Hertha head coach Pal Dardai
"With Marko, we’ve got exactly the type of player for central midfield that we were looking for. He’s technically strong and fits in perfectly with our defensive and offensive requirements. His physique in duels and his good heading ability also fit our profile." - Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz