Bundesliga: Davie Selke still developing despite goalscoring run | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.02.2019
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Bundesliga: Davie Selke still developing despite goalscoring run

Davie Selke's goalscoring form continued for Hertha Berlin but coach Pal Dardai singled out the striker after Werder Bremen salvaged a late point. Selke and Hertha are making progress, but both still have much to learn.

When the final whistle blew at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday, Hertha coach Pal Dardai made a beeline for Davie Selke, stood motionless in the center circle.

"Don't stand behind him, stand in front of him!" he told the striker, energetically springing either side of Selke to demonstrate what he meant.

Just moments earlier, in the sixth minute of injury time, Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro had fired a free-kick under the wall to become the oldest Bundesliga goalscorer of all time, aged 40, and rescue a late point for the visitors.

The ball deflected twice and the wall didn't do its job but Dardai knew the damage had been done before that, when Hertha had lost possession from a thrown-in higher up the pitch.

Poorly positioned

Receiving the throw, Selke had positioned himself behind his man in what would normally have been an offside position – a common position for a striker to take, but not with a 1-0 lead to defend and the clock ticking down.

"He didn't hold the ball up and that's what allowed them to counter-attack," explained Dardai. "But we should have been two or three up at half-time anyway. We didn't take our chances."

One of those chances had fallen to Selke early on when he saw an effort fly back off the post after Salomon Kalou had played him through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But the 24-year-old wasn't deterred and when Kalou unselfishly played him in again five minutes later, he made no mistake.

Selke didn't celebrate against his former club, which he left in less than amicable circumstances in 2015, dropping down a division to join the ever-popular RB Leipzig.

Finding form

But he would have been well within his rights to do so; such is his form in 2019. It was only his fourth goal in all competitions this season but it was his third since the turn of the year, and his third in three straight games.

Add the eight assists he has contributed this campaign – more in his last seven than his previous 94 Bundesliga games combined – and it's clear to see why Dardai opted to persevere with the 24-year-old ahead of Vedad Ibisevic against Bremen, a game in which three points would have seen Hertha edge up to a Europa League place overnight.

It's not been an easy journey for Selke, the Stuttgart-born son of a Czech mother and an Ethiopian father, who underwent an operation on a serious lung injury last summer but who has recovered to develop into a striker who provides electric pace, strength in the air and clinical finishing – sometimes, anyway.

The Germany U19 and U21 European champion will likely retain his place in the starting line-up away at Bayern Munich next week after substitute Ibisevic was shown a fifth yellow card of the season for needlessly getting involved in a touchline dispute. But this was a reminder of how much he still has to learn.

There is work to do yet for both Selke and Hertha, and Pal Dardai will no doubt be on hand to demonstrate.

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