Benjamin Hübner: "More aggression and conviction"

In an interview with, defensive leader Benjamin Hübner talks about last weekend’s defeat to Bayern München and the challenges to come, starting with a trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Have you shrugged off the defeat in Munich yet?

Benjamin Hübner: "Defeats usually linger over me a little longer, but the Hoffi-Club winter party on Sunday did help to get over the game in Munich a bit quicker. It’s a fantastic day for the kids, who are all very excited to see the team, take some pictures and collect autographs, so I don’t want to sit there miserable because of we lost - I want to be in a good mood; the kids have deserved that and it was important to me as well. Nevertheless, I was still digesting the defeat, but the great thing about football is that it’s one game at a time and we will have the chance to put things right on Saturday."

In Munich, you conceded two goals from set pieces, making it eleven in total for the season – six of which have been from corners. Why is that?

Hübner: "I think we all need to be properly switched on in these situations – set pieces are a big part of the game, which can destroy a good performance in a matter of seconds. The goals we conceded in Munich showed that, clear as day. It’s important to simply take responsibility - everyone for their own job: everyone needs to give everything to shut out his man and clear the ball. We need more aggression in these moments; everyone needs to want the ball more than their opposition player."

Another topic last week was the effectiveness in the final third. Lots of passages of play aren’t leading to shots on goal. How can you help improve this from your position in defence?  

Hübner: "I can’t help a great deal on the pitch, because I’ve got a different role to fulfil in these situations: I need to be thinking about our marking of their attackers. We have a lot of quality up front, but we need to start believing in ourselves more, believing in this quality. We need to believe that we will play that final ball. For this, we need to attack with more purpose - we need more desire to score. We need to force the goals as well, graft them out, when it’s urgent. Scoring goals in the Bundesliga requires conviction and confidence, and when you do score, that comes back naturally. I believe in the lads we have in our attack and we will go back to scoring consistently."

We haven’t started quite how we would have liked to this year. You are vice captain and a leader on the pitch - how can you influence the team?

Hübner: "Obviously we all talk to each other a lot, but our actions on the pitch are much more important – everyone needs to tackle the game head on, be aggressive, and show passion. Our body language needs to be more convincing: the other leaders and I want and will set an example here."

What gives you confidence that you will register the first win of the calendar year this weekend?

Hübner: "We just lost to the league leaders, who are top by a long way. The week before, we lost to the team in second place. There was more in it for us in both games, which was also the case in a lot of games before the winter break – the result did not reflect the performance. We are critical of our own performances, but it’s important to not be negative about everything. The way we’re playing is fine, we just need to want the wins and the points more. We will give everything against Hertha and we will fight for the points. We have the quality, the ability to win there."   

After that it’s Mainz, then Schalke – how will you approach these games?

Hübner: "We’re not thinking about these games yet, I don’t think that far ahead. As said, in the Bundesliga it’s one week at a time, so it’s all about Hertha Berlin now, about our performance there. We need to fix a few things in order to find our form again."

The reverse fixture against Hertha finished 1-1. What do you need to do to win in Berlin on Saturday?

Hübner: "Last season we played very well there – I hope we can do that again. Hertha are an unpleasant side to play against, they are extremely fit, aggressive and cover a lot of ground – Pal Dardai really pushes for that. Nevertheless, we will try to dominate the game again and take home the points."


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