Augsburg / Berlin (dpa) – Visibly relaxed, Bruno Labbadia reported on the special airport celebration after the long-awaited end of the lack of victory.
“We were received as if we had won a title,” said the Hertha coach on Sunday about the landing in Tegel the night before. “Fire brigade with water fountains, warm people on the runway” – however, they were on site for the final flight handling at the city airport, which closes on the weekend, not because of Hertha or the Labbadia anniversary.
The 100th Bundesliga victory was just “a side note” for Labbadia, the 54-year-old said 19 hours later. He took satisfaction from the “manner” of the performance. After five games without a win for the Berlin first division team, the 3-0 win at FC Augsburg calmed the situation before the international break, the subsequent big tests against Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen and the fuss over the delayed payment of another 100 million euros by investor Lars Windhorst.
“The team needed this victory,” admitted Labbadia. And personally he could hardly have found a better time for his 100th success as Bundesliga head coach: “I hope it helps to play with even more conviction.” Alexander Schwolow, who as goalkeeper was also happy with the first clear game of the season, admitted: “That feels incredibly good after this dry period.”
Labbadia was full of praise for his team, which was very organized, very focused and determined. And it was rewarded with goals from the excellent penalty taker and preparer Matheus Cunha (44th minute), Dodi Lukebakio (52nd) and Krzysztof Piatek (86th). Hertha was convincing and worked for 90 minutes as a collective. “We have invested a lot as a team and helped each other on the field. That was important,” said Cunha.
For Labbadia, the second win of the season was a “logical consequence” of the past weeks, in which he had seen a positive development. But in football there is no substitute for positive results, as he himself said: “You only need victories for the development of a team. That’s why a win is very good.”
There is potential in the team pimped with millions of euros. Young Frenchman Mattéo Guendouzi brings a refreshing presence and leadership to midfield. The offensive to control Cunha has a lot of talent and pervasive power. When Jhon Cordoba had to leave the field injured after the heady mistake of Felix Uduokhai, who was nominated for the national team for the first time by national coach Joachim Löw, the Pole did not jump in Piatek alone with his joker goal.
For Cordoba and Labbadia, bad assumptions were confirmed on Sunday, with a ligament injury, the muscular striker will be out until the end of the year. “He has to wear special shoes all the time now,” said the coach. With no winter break, Labbadia fears recovery difficulties: “We don’t have time to rebuild anyone.”
Hertha manager Michael Preetz once again tried in Augsburg to present the late payment of the last million tranche by investor Windhorst as a “normal process”. “Don’t worry. Everything is fine,” Preetz said in an interview with Sky. Hertha remains “capable of action” in the transfer market.
It could and should continue with the existing staff. Labbadia wants to add many more to his 100 wins. “Absolutely,” he said, “I’m ready.”