31.07.2022, Eintracht Stadion, Braunschweig, GER, DFB Pokal, 1. Hauptrunde, Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hertha BSC, im Bild Dodi Lukebakio 14, Hertha hat das Tor zum 3:4 fuer Hertha erzielt und jubelt mit Sandro Schwarz Trainer, Hertha Wichtiger Hinweis: Der DFB untersagt die Verwendung von Sequenzbildern im Internet und in Online-Medien waehrend des Spiels einschließlich Halbzeit. Sperrfrist Der DFB erlaubt die Publikation und Weiterverwertung der Bilder auf mobilfunkfaehigen Endgeraeten insbesondere MMS und ueber DVB-H und DMB erst nach Spielende. Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hertha BSC *** 31 07 2022, Eintracht Stadium, Braunschweig, GER, DFB Cup, 1 main round, Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hertha BSC, in picture Dodi Lukebakio 14, Hertha scored the goal to 3 4 for Hertha and cheers with Sandro Schwarz coach, Hertha Important notice The DFB prohibits the use of sequence pictures on the Internet and in online media during the game including halftime blackout period The DFB allows the publication and further use of the images on mobile devices, especially MMS and via DVB H and DMB only after the end of the game Eintracht Braunschweig vs Hertha BSC

Sandro Schwarz went a long way. The Hertha BSC coach left his observation post near the center line and ran towards the corner flag. There he received his attacker Dodi Lukebakio, who had been celebrated by the fans for his goal to 4:3 in the cup game against Eintracht Braunschweig. Before the Belgian ran back onto the pitch, his trainer said a few words to him.

Congratulations on the important goal? A special compliment? Thank you for the goal with which the Berliners apparently turned the game? None of that. “Work, work,” Schwarz told Lukebakio. “Keep at it.”

Sandro Schwarz has been the coach at Hertha BSC for around six weeks, but he probably already knew how Dodi Lukebakio, the Belgian international, ticked before he started in Berlin. Strong on the offensive, fast, tricky. But also too inexperienced in tactical things and rather reluctant to carry out defensive orders.

All of this has meant that Lukebakio, 24, has never achieved the importance he was once intended for in his three years at Hertha. He has scored 17 goals in 68 competitive games for the Berliners, who transferred 20 million euros to Watford FC for him in 2019. Lukebakio was the first of some extremely expensive transfers since investor Lars Windhorst got on board. But only a stale aftertaste remains of the gold-rush mood of those weeks and months.

But when Hertha BSC starts this Saturday (3:30 p.m., live on Sky) with the derby at 1. FC Union in the new season of the Bundesliga, Lukebakio will be in the starting line-up again like a week ago against Braunschweig, right in the offensive line of three. Measured against the general expectations at the beginning of the preparation, this is quite surprising.

If public opinion had its way, Lukebakio would no longer be in Berlin. He moved to VfL Wolfsburg on loan a year ago. But even there he was soon what he was far too often at Hertha: a follower. In 25 competitive games he only scored one goal for VfL, which then refrained from a permanent commitment.

So Lukebakio returned to Hertha – and actually only to leave right away. “Of course he was a candidate to change,” admits sporting director Fredi Bobic. But in discussions with Hertha’s sporting management, Lukebakio made it very clear that he was happy to be back in Berlin and that he wanted to make it at Hertha. “Of course, he also knows that the market is not so easy that not everyone is screaming: Hooray, you can sign him,” says Bobic.

Olympiacos Piraeus, clubs from his homeland, those were the prospects that were rumored to be traded. Not exactly the first category of European football. “Because as a player you also offer something that you have to do,” as Bobic says. “That was certainly not enough for his demands last season.”

Now Lukebakio is making another, possibly last attempt to make it to Hertha. The first signs are quite promising – although there was never a lack of signs at Lukebakio anyway. More like consistency.

They told him again this summer that he has to get them into his game, says Bobic: “It can’t just be a game, Dodi! And then you take a three-game break again, go somewhere for a coffee. You have to deliver this every week. Then you have a really good future at Hertha BSC.”

Sandro Schwarz seems to have found the right approach in preparation. Working with Lukebakio wasn’t just about tactics and defense, it was primarily about improvements on the offensive: more depth.

On Sunday in Braunschweig, the Belgian was the best player on the field. He set up a goal, was on the road a lot, always a threat to the second division’s defence. And when Lukebakio made it 4-3 early in the second half of extra time, he seemed well on his way to becoming the player of the match.

Lukebakio was already on the bench when the late 4:4 fell and Hertha failed on penalties at Eintracht. Trainer Schwarz confirmed that he had very good depth runs, but also “he did a very good job in terms of defensive, tactical understanding”. Nevertheless, there are still opportunities for improvement in positional play, in approach behavior and in reworking after second balls. “But that’s also normal for an offensive player. “

The change at Lukebakio is obvious. Marvin Plattenhardt, Hertha’s new captain, has experienced his colleague “very, very diligently and very, very positively” in the past few weeks. Sports director Bobic also sees the biggest change in Lukebakio’s attitude. “He put his head into it 100 percent from day one,” he says. If you don’t do that, you’ll let yourself go at some point and will automatically become a candidate for sale. “I didn’t have the slightest feeling with Dodi. He behaved absolutely brilliantly.”