Filip Uremovic is a big cycling fan. And for cycling fans, the most exciting time of the year will soon begin. The Tour de France starts in Copenhagen on Friday. “I hope that I can watch a bit of the tour after training,” said the Croatian on Wednesday about the coming weeks. Of course, the focus is on preparing for the season with his new club, Hertha BSC.
A training camp is currently taking place in Kienbaum. There was the first test match there on Wednesday evening, against the Oberliga promoted TuS Makkabi. “First impressions are really good. Everything is new to me. I’m just trying to remember all the names of my team-mates,” says Uremovic. He has a lot of contact with the Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic.
He was previously under contract with Rubin Kazan. After the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Uremovic left the country. “My family was very scared.” He went on loan to English second division side Sheffield United. Since Kazan was meanwhile relegated, he was able to move to Berlin without a fee.
Jonjoe Kenny is also at the beginning of his time with the Bundesliga soccer team. Like Uremovic, a defender and also a free transfer. His previous club was also his youth club, Everton FC. Kenny also has to get to know most of the new colleagues, but it’s different with one: Suat Serdar. He successfully played with him in the 2019/20 season at FC Schalke 04: “Since then, his English has gotten better and my German too. We can communicate better now,” says Kenny and laughs.
Both approaches should help to finally stabilize Hertha’s defensive, which has been extremely vulnerable in the past. Kenny, who is considered to be a hard worker on the pitch, has decent prospects of a place in the starting eleven, he is fighting a duel with long-running favorite Peter Pekarik. The 35-year-old is the longest-serving Hertha professional and is entering his eleventh season with the club. Uremovic, who was brought in to succeed Niklas Stark, faces stiff competition in central defense from talented Linus Gechter and captain Dedryck Boyata.
Both renounce big sayings. “Get into the team quickly and help the team,” Uremovic wants. While Kenny says, “Now for me it’s all about being as fit as possible and delivering the best Jonjoe Kenny possible to the team.”
Uremovic was born in mid-February 1997, Kenny a good month later. Considering that they are comparatively young, they have already experienced a lot in their career. Uremovic was a captain in several of his teams and has six caps for Croatia. Kenny’s vita even includes winning a World Cup title: 2017 with the English U-20 national team. He has also played for Everton in the Premier League and for Celtic Glasgow.
At Everton he had several well-known coaches such as Ronald Koeman, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez. Frank Lampard was the most formative: “He had the greatest influence, always believed in me.” Under Lampard, Kenny made 15 appearances in the league in the last season, which otherwise didn’t go perfectly for him.
He has had good experiences in the Bundesliga in games against teams from Berlin. Kenny has two goals from his time in Schalke. One against 1. FC Union, one against Hertha BSC. This was his scoring debut in the league. “It was a clean goal and a great moment,” Kenny recalled. “Hopefully I can score more goals here.” From now on for Hertha BSC.