Cologne - It is easy to forget Mitchell Weiser’s standout moment in FC Bayern München colours.
The right-sided specialist found chances at a premium during his three-year spell at the Allianz Arena, but after beating four Hertha Berlin players and setting up Bastian Schweinsteiger for the 24-time Bundesliga champions’ title-clinching goal on Matchday 30 of the 2014/15 campaign, the Old Lady were hardly going to pass up the chance to bring the mercurial talent to the German capital.
“Mitchell Weiser is a young, pacy player who can play on both flanks and can still get better,” explained Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz after the former Bayern man put pen to paper on a three-year deal at the Olympiastadion on 18 June 2015. “He’s also able to play both in attack and defence and meets our requirements perfectly. We’re really happy he decided to join us.”
Although still only 21, Hertha represent Weiser’s third different club since first signing professional terms with 1. FC Köln in 2010. He spent most of his time at Bayern in the reserves, making just 16 appearances for the first team after spending the latter half of 2012/13 on loan at Bundesliga 2 outfit 1. FC Kaiserslautern.
In that respect, it might appear the Old Lady are taking something of a gamble on a player who, until recently, has often flattered to deceive. Question marks over his attitude and commitment to the sport have hindered his development, but as soon as he dedicated himself to his craft he began to reap the rewards.
“I spent a lot of time thinking things over,” Weiser recalled last spring. “Am I really giving it 100 per cent in training? Does [Pep Guardiola] know the real [me]?” The capricious Troisdorf native’s 'eureka' moment nevertheless came too late. One goal and four assists in his final ten league outings of 2014/15 earned him rightful recognition, but a contract extension was not forthcoming.
Ready to sharpen Hertha’s sword
It is now in historic Berlin where he will look to make a clean break. Pal Dardai’s side narrowly avoided relegation to the second tier on the final day, their foibles in the final third illustrated by the fact that only SC Paderborn 07, Hamburger SV and Köln scored fewer goals and created fewer clear-cut chances all season.
Up step Weiser. Quick and direct, the 21-year-old managed to register more Bundesliga assists than any player on Hertha’s books last term. If he can continue his overdue upward trend, the Old Lady could be onto a winner - and who knows? This time next year we may even be talking in terms of Bayern and the one that got away.