“He was freezing in front of goal.”

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

After a 5-1 victory in a benefit match against the Berliner AK, Hertha head-coach Sandro Schwarz lauded striker Wilfried Kanga after the Ivorian attacker scored a hat trick.

Wilfried Kanga
Wilfried Kanga Metroit1984 CC-BY-SA 4.0

It took a full 11 league rounds before Hertha summer acquisition Wilfried Kanga was able to score his maiden Bundesliga goal for his new club. After finally netting a tally against FC Schalke 04 on matchday 11, the 25-year-old managed just one other goal in the final Bundesliga round before the international break. Woefully ineffective after play resumed in the new calendar year, Kanga then lost his starting XI place permanently in part also due to an ill-timed injury.

Kanga eclipsed his overall total of goals for the Charlottenburg side during a intra-city benefit match on Friday. The returning striker netted a hat trick during a 5-1 victory against Berliner AK 07/ Even though the fixture was a friendly, Schwarz made clear that he expected a competitive performance from his team.

Starting XI regulars Marco Richter, Marvin Plattenhardt, Tolga Cigerci, Lucas Tousart, Oliver Christensen, Marton Dardai., Marc Oliver Kempf, and Agustin Rogel all featured prominently in the match. The team even lined up in Schwarz’s regular 3-5-2 formation. Schwarz took care to emphasize the importance of Kanga’s three goals afterwards.

“Three goals are important for his confidence,” Schwarz noted, “He was freezing in front of goal. His presence in the box and interpretation of space were very good here.”

Difficult as it may be to fathom, Schwarz’s relegation-threatened side actually has six strikers available for the head-coach’s current double-striker set. The Hertha gaffer may take some confidence from the fact that Kanga’s breakthrough, along with thus far positive stints on international duty for Belgian Dodi Lukebakio, Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic, and young German international Jessic Ngankam, give him more options.

Florian Niederlechner did not feature in the test fixture as the Bavarian was nursing a slight injury. Schwarz insisted that it was “nothing serious” and that he expected the former Augsburg attacker to be back after the international break.

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