At the start of the season in the North/Northeast season of the B-Junior Bundesliga, the current season winner Hertha BSC has home advantage against runners-up Hamburger SV on Saturday (from 2 p.m.) in the stadium at the Throwing Grounds, not far from the Berlin Olympic Stadium. The new Hertha coach Stephan Schmidt makes his debut, as does Thomas Johrden with the U17s of HSV. The game of the week in the DFB.de fact check.

The preparation: The youngsters from Hertha BSC were in a goal mood before the start of the league. There were clear successes against the B junior regional league club FC Energie Cottbus (11:2) and SV Fortuna Magdeburg (7:2) from the A junior regional league Northeast. The German capitals were also able to defeat their league rivals Hannover 96 (2:1). During the preparations, the U17s of Berlin went to a training camp in Opalenica, Poland, together with the U23s and the U19s. Another test match against an older vintage of the Polish first division club Lech Posen (1:1) was then on the program on site. There were also many goals in the preparatory games of Hamburger SV. HSV separated from the A-Juniors of SV Eichede 3:3. At SC Preußen Münster (4:4) there was one more goal on both sides. Hamburg won the comparison with their league rivals FC Hansa Rostock 5-0. On the other hand, HSV lost 3:4 against West representative VfL Bochum. The dress rehearsal against the youngsters of the Danish second division club SönderjyskE (2:1) was successful.

The coaches: Hertha BSC’s U17s have had a champion coach since this summer. In 2011, Stephan Schmidt won the German A-Junior Championship with the U19s of VfL Wolfsburg by beating 1. FC Kaiserslautern 4-2 in the final. A year later, the “Wolves” only failed in the semifinals at FC Schalke 04 (2:2 and 4:6 after penalties). After stints in the 2nd Bundesliga at SC Paderborn 07 and FC Energie Cottbus, the 45-year-old Schmidt returned to the junior division in 2015 and looked after the U16s and U17s at FC Schalke 04. After another station in the professional division ( Würzburger Kickers), the native of Berlin has been on the sidelines for the U19s of Hannover 96 for the past four years. At his home club Hertha BSC, Schmidt not only has a past as a player in the second team (July 2003 to June 2005). He was also assistant coach of the U19s under Dirk Kunert from July 2007 to June 2009. A new coach will also be in charge of Hamburger SV’s B-Juniors this season. After a year, Thomas Johrden has moved up from the U16s with many of his players, so he already knows most of the squad. The 35-year-old has been working in the junior division of the former Bundesliga dinosaur since 2016. After a season as an assistant coach at the U14s, the former Regionalliga Nord player supported Daniel Petrowsky as an U19 assistant from July 2017 to June 2021.

The balance sheet: Hertha BSC and Hamburger SV are two founding members of the B-Junior Bundesliga, who have also been in the North/Northeast season of the top German U17 division without interruption since 2007. After 27 league duels so far, the balance sheet is clear. With a total goal difference of 57:40, the Berliners were able to win 16 duels. This is offset by two draws and nine Hamburg successes. Hertha BSC won the clash last season after goals from Chilohem Onuoha (now RB Leipzig U 19), Leander Popp (now Hertha BSC U 19) and Bence Dárdai 3-0. In the last five comparisons, HSV has only won once (four defeats). HSV’s most recent success in Berlin came on October 31, 2017 (4-1).

The pre-season: If you look at the past season, Hertha BSC and Hamburger SV are playing a top game. The Berliners had qualified for the final round of the German championship as winners of the North/Northeast season. There, the team of today’s U19 coach Oliver Reiß lost out to VfB Stuttgart (0:1 and 1:2). Hamburger SV finished second in the North/Northeast season. In the final count, nine points were missing from the top. The decision was made on the third to last match day. While the Berliners were able to beat VfL Wolfsburg 4:3, pursuers Hamburger SV only drew 1:1 at FC Erzgebirge Aue. With only two games left, the gap had grown to an unassailable eight points. Hertha BSC remained undefeated during the regular season: After 18 matches, 15 wins and three draws were recorded.

The votes: “We’re really looking forward to the start of the season against an opponent on equal footing,” Hertha coach Stephan Schmidt told DFB.de ahead of his league debut. “HSV traditionally provides

strong teams. I’m very excited myself to see how the game will go. However, it’s also clear that the focus is not on the result but on the further development of the players.” HSV coach Thomas Johrden explains in an interview with DFB.de: “It will be the first game in the B-Junior Bundesliga for many of our boys. That’s what we worked towards in preparation. We’re all the more pleased that things are about to start. With Hertha BSC we’re meeting a team that probably will also be a championship favorite this season. But we don’t look at the opponent so much, we focus on ourselves instead. That’s why we want to take the initiative in the game and act boldly.”

The personnel situation: Hertha BSC has to do without a few key players such as captain Sami Akova (groin), attacking player Luis Trus (ankle) and top scorer Samuel-Chima Ishionwu (rehabilitation training). The two right-backs Colin Wolf (Achilles tendon) and Moritz Weber (knee) as well as central defender Oskar Sewtz (knee) are also not available. “Other guys have to step into the breach for that,” said coach Schmidt. The Hamburger SV U17s, on the other hand, will probably be able to fall back on the full squad at the start of the season. “During the preparations we were spared – apart from minor injuries – from injuries,” says coach Johrden.

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