With Ronny, Genki Haraguchi and Hajime Hosogai to the fore (l-r.), it should only be a matter of time before Hertha pick up their first win of the season
With Ronny, Genki Haraguchi and Hajime Hosogai to the fore (l-r.), it should only be a matter of time before Hertha pick up their first win of the season

Samba-Samurai concoction gives Hertha cause for optimism

Freiburg - Still without a win all season, capital club Hertha Berlin are determined to prove that good things do indeed come to those who wait.

Rocket Ronny keeps faith

The Old Lady last sampled that winning feeling - in the Bundesliga at least - courtesy of a 2-0 success over Eintracht Braunschweig on 26 April, but there's a strong inkling that barren run might be about to come to an end following Friday night's spirited 2-2 draw at SC Freiburg.

"One point's good, but we've still got more work to do," admitted two-goal saviour Ronny after the game. "It was important not to lose. Freiburg are a good side and we did well to equalise in the last minute. Now we can look ahead to our next game against VfL Wolfsburg. I'm sure we'll get the win."

Despite seeing his side pick up just three league victories since the turn of the year, the Brazilian's optimism should not be cast off as a token post-match response to a long-standing concern. Berlin have played well and been on target at least once in all four of their league outings so far in 2014/15, having lost 16-goal Adrian Ramos to Borussia Dortmund at that.

Haraguchi turning heads

As well as Ronny, who already has three strikes to his name this term, summer signing Genki Haraguchi is another man charged with filling the net-busting void. The 23-year-old scored 33 times and laid on 22 assists in 162 appearances in the Japanese top-flight for former club Urawa Red Diamonds and while he is yet to break his Bundesliga duck, his contribution to Hertha's game should not be underestimated.

Back in the side on Matchday 4 following a two-game injury lay-off, the one-time Japan international proved the perfect foil for some of the club's more seasoned Bundesliga performers, winning the free kick which brought Hertha back on level terms before half time and completing 78.6 per cent of his attempted passes. Only Jon Heitinga, Salomon Kalou, Fabian Lustenberger, Valentin Stocker and compatriot Hajme Hosogai enjoyed greater precision.

Far Eastern companions

That Hertha's newfangled attacking recruit has been able to settle into life in the German capital so seamlessly owes much to Hertha's aforementioned Japanese skipper who, with the exception of Eintracht Frankfurt's Makoto Hasebe, stands as the only Samurai Blue representative to have played for three different Bundesliga clubs (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Augsburg and Hertha) since leaving his homeland in 2010.

"We played together under Volker Finke for two years at Red Diamonds," recalled Hosogai. "I was at left-back and Genki was on the left-hand side of midfield. You never know: when he scores his first goal for Hertha, our fans might even sing a mix of 'Nur nach Hause' [a Hertha fan song] and 'We are Red Diamonds' [which have the same melody]. I'm going to make sure he thrives here in any case."

Christopher Mayer-Lodge