“I need more action up front”

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By Peter Vice

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung called Stevan Jovetic’s goal against Leverkusen on Sunday an “Oscar Worthy” piece of technical excellence. 

Speaking to a media roundtable of journalists on Monday, the never-shy Hertha BSC trainer Pal Dardai had clear words for his higher market value striker Krzysztof Piatek. 

Stevan Jovetic.
Stevan Jovetic. Photo: Steindy, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Thirty-two-year old Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetic arrived in Germany’s capital city this summer to little fanfare. Hertha BSC were able to snap up the oft-injured striker on a free. This was obviously nothing compared to the €24 million shelled out to AC Milan for Polish forward Krzysztof Piatek during the club’s profligate January transfer window in 2020.


At the beginning of the season, whilst Germany’s West Berlin capital city club awaited Piatek’s return from injury, Jovetic’s use as a center-forward wasn’t even planned. The new-acquisition was initially deployed on the left-wing during test fixtures, the Pokal, and the first round of Bundesliga play.

When Jovetic scored six minutes into the opening day match against Köln, the veteran adding something special to his glittering CV. Having already scored whilst playing for Fiorentina, Manchester City, Inter Milan, Seviila, and Monaco, the Montenegrin’s first Bundesliga goal meant that he had now scored a goal in all five of Europe’s major footballing leagues.

Jovetic’s trajectory with his new German club hasn’t exactly been consistently upward. A calf blister sidelined him for nearly a month. His susceptibility to injury was obviously something that worried other clubs and the primary reason the Charlottenburgers got him on a free.

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The veteran’s performance nevertheless left his trainer quite impressed. Jovetic might have had a brace (and the game-winning goal) had he taken another another touch on an excellent opportunity in the second half.

“If he had made a better decision on Niklas’ pass and not taken it first time, he might have had two goals,” Hertha head-coach Pal Dardai remarked on Monday, whilst also insisting, “[his goal] was an exceptional moment. We’ve been missing that for some time.”


Jovetic played 73 minutes as the lead striker in a 4-2-3-1 during Sunday’s draw with Leverkusen. When it came time to bring a fresh striker on, Dardai opted for Davie Selke. Piatek remained on the bench.

“I’ve not been happy with the striker position recently,” Dardai divulged on Monday, “I need someone who takes free kicks, sets himself apart technically, and doesn’t just wait for the balls to come.”

“On Friday night, it became clear to me,” Dardai continued, “I’m throwing Jove in there. I need players who can hold the ball up and aren’t just waiting for their moment to score. Krzysztof is always just waiting for the last pass inside the 18. I need more action up front.”

Dardai also explained that he felt Jovetic’s use as a winger was no longer merited. The Hungarian gaffer clearly stated that the Montenegrin “was a striker, not an outfielder.”

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If Jovetic can remain healthy, it stands to reason that “die alte Dame” have a new clear first-choice for the center-forward. Piatek’s underachieving has long been a topic at the Berlin club. The Polish striker earned similar criticism from previous Hertha trainer Bruno Labbadia and the 26-year-old was definitely shopped around during last January’s transfer window.

Both attackers are off to report for international duty during the coming break. Piatek, who had to miss this summer’s Euros with injury, will be rejoining the Polish national team, where’s obviously behind Robert Lewandowski on the depth chart. He might still be used.

Jovetic captains the Montenegrin side, which stands a very slim chance of qualifying for the playoffs out of their group.

More about Hertha BSC

Pal Dardai: “You have to make it 2-0 in a game like this”
Hertha brass confident ahead of Leverkusen: “I know they are beatable.”
Report: Bundesliga duo show interest in Spanish winger
DFB-Pokal last 16 draw: Hertha and Union face off in Berlin derby
Hoeneß praises in-form Skov: “He just threw his whole heart into it.”
Two of nine Bundesliga fixtures sell out in week nine

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