John Brooks, Hertha Berlin win again to further solidify Champions League place

Associated Press
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The Bundesliga table doesn’t look nearly as discombobulated as the Premier League standings, but there’s one name that looks out of place.

Hertha Berlin is in third, with a five-point cushion. Six points above them is Borussia Dortmund. Five points back sit Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, and Wolfsburg. The club has won five of its last six, the only loss to mighty Bayern Munich.

They haven’t won many marquee games this year with other losses to Dortmund, Monchengladbach, and Schalke. As a result, they haven’t received much coverage. But they have taken care of business in every game they should, and it’s put them in a place to savor.

In the thick of things has been USMNT CB John Brooks. He missed a five-game stretch with a calf injury, but since coming back, he’s started each of the club’s last six games and played all 90 minutes in each contest, and snagged the winner against Leverkusen. The club has won five of those games, conceding just four goals, two of which came in the loss to Bayern. A 2-0 win today against 8th-placed Mainz marked their second straight clean sheet, and goals from Salomon Kalou and Vladamir Daria led the way.

They don’t have another match until January 23 thanks to the holiday break, but they’ll have a pair of opportunities in February to pick up a statement win, with fixtures against Dortmund and Wolfsburg during that time. Meanwhile, for Brooks, he is creeping up on a contract year, and with his current deal set to expire in summer 2017 the club reportedly will not tolerate lengthy discussions for a new deal. Whatever the future holds for the 22-year-old, he has helped Hertha into an enviable position with the chance to solidify that further in the new year.