The Old Lady were touted by many as possible European contenders following a highly impressive Hinrunde, but a disastrous second half of the season saw Jos Luhukay’s charges drop like a stone and, despite landing in a healthy mid-table position, the Dutchman will be looking for a marked improvement from his side next term. bundesliga.com looks back on the capital club’s campaign…
Hertha could hardly have wished for a better start to the 2013/14 season. A comprehensive 6-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, who had finished the previous campaign in sixth, certainly got pulses racing at the Olympiastadion and fans’ expectations duly skyrocketed. A 1-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 9 saw Hertha climb into fourth, and Luhukay’s charges followed that up with an impressive display in a narrow 3-2 defeat at FC Bayern München. They went one better at the Signal-Iduna Park on Matchday 17, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to finish the Hinrunde in sixth - above FC Schalke 04. However, a run of just 13 points from 17 matches - including ten defeats - in 2014 put paid to their hopes of European football.
To add insult to injury, Hertha’s top scorer Adrian Ramos will be lining up in Dortmund colours next season after joining Jürgen Klopp’s side on a four-year contract. The Colombian international was in prolific form for the capital club this term, scoring 40 per cent of Hertha’s league goals (16) and finishing just four behind his BVB predecessor Robert Lewandowski, who will join FC Bayern München this summer, in the overall scoring charts.
Had the campaign started in January and ended in May, Hertha would have finished 17th and dropped straight back down into Bundesliga 2. Only Hamburger SV - who narrowly avoided relegation thanks to a nail-biting play-off win against Greuther Fürth - picked up fewer points (11) than Hertha in the second half of the season. The Old Lady won just three and lost ten of their 17 Rückrunde matches, scoring just 13 times in the process.
Luhukay wasted no time in curbing supporters’ expectations following their opening-day thrashing of Frankfurt. “Everyone who knows me will be aware that I don’t start jumping on tables after victories,” said the former FC Augsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach following the win, which saw Hertha go top of the table after Matchday 1.
Hertha’s opening-day success over Frankfurt was undoubtedly a dream start to life back in the big time, but the away victory over high-flying Dortmund demonstrated what the Berliners are capable of when they played to their potential. The feat was made all the more impressive considering Hertha had fallen behind to a Marco Reus strike after just seven minutes. Ramos restored parity against his future employers half-way through the first half, before Sami Allagui scored the winner on the stroke of half-time.