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That's why there was no room for Captain Leistner

That's why there was no room for Captain Leistner

Fit on the bench: Hertha Berlin defeated 1. FC Magdeburg (3:2) without captain Toni Leistner (33) – evidence of the growing competition.

High fives with shirt: Hertha captain Toni Leistner after the 3-2 win over Magdeburg.
Alliance photo/Ebner press photo

During alternate practice on Saturday morning, Tony Leistner was one of the first to enter Schenckendorfplatz. The defender came into the morning shift alongside Florian Niederlechner and Jeremy Dudziak – after an evening in which Hertha Berlin secured a second successive win and a first for Leistner: his first since his move from Belgian top-flight club K. Sint-Truidense VV To Berlin last summer, Leistner had to go to the bench at kick-off – and stayed there all evening.

“Magdeburg has its own style,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. “They allow two or three players to play in attack after winning the ball, young and energetic players. This is not nice for Toni.” “Tony needs top strikers. He's still our leader.”

The previous week in Fürth (2-1), the first win of 2024, Leistner was suspended for a yellow card. Marc-Olivier Kempf and Pascal Clemens formed the centre-backs. The coach responded to the loss of Kempf (ankle ligament injury) to FCM by bringing in Marton Darday, who has recovered from muscle problems – Clemens, who was impressive at Fürth, remains in the team. The plan worked. “Pascal performed very well, and so did Marton,” praised sporting director Benjamin Weber after the 3-2 win over Magdeburg. “Still – Tony is the leader and gives us the same amount of energy.”

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It is very conceivable that the veteran will return to the team soon. Clemens and Marton Dardai currently have four yellow cards – both also options for the six pairing, as coach Dardai was not entirely satisfied with Andreas Bouchalakis and Ayman Barkok against Magdeburg with the majority and with their lead. “Competition is good for us,” Pal Dardai said on Saturday. “Then Tony will be better when he plays again.” It shouldn't take long.