In the second half of the 2020/21 season, Hertha BSC was deep in the relegation battle. Coach Pal Dardai’s team played against Bayer Leverkusen, played very well – and won 3-0. Hertha’s goalkeeper Rune Jarstein had much less to do than expected. When challenged, the Norwegian made sure. That was on March 21, 2021. Since then he has not played a mandatory game or a friendly for Hertha due to health reasons.

This will change on Saturday after 468 days. Coach Sandro Schwarz announced on Friday afternoon at the training camp in Kienbaum that Jarstein and the new number one Oliver Christensen will share the time when Hertha is testing at the regional league team SV Babelsberg 03 (4 p.m., Karl Liebknecht Stadium).

Schwarz said that he was in close contact with goalkeeping coach Andreas Menger on the subject of Jarstein – and would now like to get an impression of the conditions of the competition: “To get an impression, he will play 45 minutes, then we will also be smarter.”

Jarstein was surprisingly given preference to the previous goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow under Dardai at the beginning of 2021. But during an international match with the Norwegian national team, he became infected with the corona virus. The disease had a very severe course for him, he had to be treated temporarily in the hospital.

Myocarditis later developed, and in the summer of last year Jarstein was completely banned from playing sports for two months. “At first I just lay around on the sofa. Then I went for a walk first. On my first walk in Berlin I was exhausted after ten minutes. It took a while, then got better step by step,” Jarstein said in retrospect in an interview with the “Bild” newspaper.

In October, Jarstein was ready to take part in team training again. But shortly afterwards he had to sit out again for a long time: The reason was a knee injury, including an operation. Jarstein only returned to the team coached by Felix Magath in the final phase of the past season.

A few weeks ago there were rumors about an early termination of the contract, which runs until 2023. But then sporting director Fredi Bobic said: “The decisive thing for Rune will be: is he fit? And can he be someone who gives the young players support?” When it comes to fitness, Jarstein should be the number two goalkeeper.

Besides him and Christensen, there are also Tjark Ernst (19) brought in from VfL Bochum and Robert Kwasigroch (18), who comes from his own offspring. Both had played one half in the first test match on Wednesday against TuS Makkabi.

On Thursday there was a barbecue evening in Kienbaum, at which the new President Kay Bernstein and Vice President Fabian Drescher were also present. Hertha completed two sessions on Friday, one of which focused entirely on athletics. Another training session will follow on Saturday morning in Kienbaum. Then there will have been a total of ten units this week.

The game against the ball took up a lot of space. An aspect that is very important to Black. But positional play was also on the agenda. “We are satisfied for the current status. With the knowledge that we still have to up the ante in the next few weeks,” says Schwarz. After the intensive week for the test in Babelsberg, the trainer expects the pros to have “tired legs”. But: “It’s also about winning games and not using the excuse that you’re tired.”

The national team will return from vacation next week. The squad will temporarily grow to more than 40 players: “It’s logical that the group will change, that it’s too big,” says Schwarz.

Meanwhile, Hertha officially announced that striker Ishak Belfodil will leave the club. Where he goes is open. And the commitment of another player should be imminent. The newspaper “Bild” reported that the club wants to loan left winger Chidera Ejuke from CSKA Moscow. The 24-year-old is a Nigerian international.