Munich - When bagged yet another two goals for Hamburger SV on Matchday 12, this time away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the ruminations in the ever-voracious sports press inevitably grew louder still: had Hertha Berlin made a serious misjudgement in allowing the 21-year-old forward to move to their Bundesliga rivals on a season-long loan deal?
Hertha going great guns
The BayArena brace did, after all, take Lasogga's tally up to eight in as many league outings for the Red Shorts, two stints off the bench included. Happy, surely, are the club for whom a player with such a prolific return is considered surplus to requirements.
In fact, the progress of the Germany Under-21 international still on the books in Berlin is indeed pleasing to Hertha coach Jos Luhukay - all the more so when considering the bigger picture. “I saw his goals, and they were worth seeing,” said the Dutch tactician, “but we're feeling better, because we won.”
That bottom line was certainly undeniable on the day, with defensive frailty condemning Hamburg to a 5-3 defeat, just as Hertha were claiming their first away win of the season, at 1899 Hoffenheim. The result kept the promoted club from the capital steady at seventh in the standings, six points and seven places above Hamburg. And to bring the aforementioned picture into even sharper focus, Hertha had a two-goal hero of their own in matchwinner Adrian Ramos.
Ramos 'The complete striker'
Like Lasogga, Ramos is at his best leading the line and even on the statistical front, his record this season bears comparison with that of his outsourced colleague. With seven goals from twelve starts, plus three assists and over 60 chances created all-told, the 27-year-old Colombia international is well on track to make the step up from solid targetman to the Bundesliga's frontline elite. "He's a fantastic player, the complete striker,” Luhukay told bundesliga.com after a stirring display that saw his charges eventually edged 3-2 by table-toppers FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena on Matchday 10.
Ever the pragmatist, the deceptively low-key coach had concluded that “two good players in the same position isn't going to work.” The more experienced Ramos, a first-team regular since moving to Berlin in the summer of 2009, accordingly got the nod over his younger rival, whom injury restricted to a handful of outings last season as Luhukay guided Hertha back to the top flight in style at the first time of asking.
Lasogga himself is very evidently blossoming in his new surroundings and it would be no great surprise under the circumstances if Hamburg were keen to make the loan deal permanent next summer. Luhukay is keeping his options open, noting in the context of his own team planning that, “Both [Ramos and Lasogga] are demonstrating their quality independently - but Ramos scored some incredibly important goals to help get us back up last season.”
Come what may, the 50-year-old Dutchman has made it clear that, “Pierre-Michel Lasogga will return to our club next summer. We'll sit down with him then and review the situation in detail.” In the meantime, the once and potentially future strike partners will continue to plough their thus far highly successful separate furrows for Hamburg and Hertha.
World Cup bonus?
The former are looking to find the consistency under new coach Bert van Marwijk that will get them back into the mix for an overdue return to the European fray, and Lasogga is set to be vital to that cause.
For their part, the men from Berlin are already exceeding expectations in their first season back in the Bundesliga. And for Ramos, should any added incentive be necessary, maintaining his fine current form is of course the ideal way to get himself back in the frame with Colombia, who have already booked their ticket to the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.