It’s no surprise that Hertha Berlin — the 128-year-old Bundesliga club appropriately nicknamed Die AlteDame or “The Old Lady” — has big aims to return to the upper reaches of German football.
What might raise your eyebrows, however, is that Hertha is pulling for city rivals Union Berlin to continue its rise to prominence ahead of this week’s home Berlin Derby.
At least that’s true in the case of Arne Friedrich, Hertha Berlin’s charismatic 41-year-old sporting director who happens to be an 82-times capped German national team player who was named to Hertha’s “Squad of the Century” for his work as a defender in blue and white. He’s also big on U.S. soccer, keeping a second house in Los Angeles following his experience in MLS with Chicago, but we’ll get to that later.
As Hertha prepares for just its third derby in the top flight, a Friday afternoon affair at the Olympiastadion, Friedrich tells ProSoccerTalk why he’s hoping the club’s local rival keeps up its end of the Berlin bargain.
The hosts enter the day eight points behind their younger brother, formed in 1966 on the backs of 1906-born Olympia Oberschöneweide. And Freidrich is ready for it, now and well into the future.
“In the future it’s going to be very exciting because I hope that Union continues to do their job as they are right now,” Friedrich said. “It’s really impressive. They are the underdog even if they are sitting higher in the table. It’s kind of upside-down to me but credit to Union Berlin. We have the pressure because it’s not just the expectation of people and media but our own expectation. We will show that on Friday. There’s a lot of potential for the derby and Berlin deserves a good derby.”
Union hasn’t lost since Opening Day, though there are four draws in that eight-match run, while Hertha’s been amongst the more unlucky teams on the Bundesliga table in terms of expected goals.
The goal-busy Bundesliga season has been especially true for the Berlin sides, with just six total zeroes on the scoreboard between their 18 matches.
So open play and two teams from a city of nearly 4 million people? Yeah, sign us up.
“If you consider us to other major cities, capitals, what we are really missing is trophies,” Freidrich said. “We want to become like a capital club in the world. This is a challenge but we have a lot of potential. Even when I was a player here, the media said we were a sleeping giant. Everyone’s waited for the giant to awake. It’s a lot of pressure but it’s also our goal. It has to be our mentality. This is what we’re working on it right now.
“The city longs for football. On the other hand it’s also a challenge because … we’re not a city that’s just known for soccer. You look at Borussia Dortmund, it’s a pure soccer city. The only thing happening is soccer. Here we have the art, basketball, hockey, football, culture, so you have to work on your credits here.”
Hertha is a fun watch and Friedrich deserves plenty of credit.
Hired by Jurgen Klinsmann in late 2019 and promoted to sporting director within four months, Friedrich hired his former teammate Bruno Labbadia as manager and has drastically lowered the age of his roster.
Gone are 36-year-old Vedad Ibisevic, 34-year-old Salomon Kalou, and 33-year-old Per Skjelbred.
And Hertha’s top performers this early season are… significantly younger.
Matheus Cunha (21), Dodi Lukebakio (23), and Maximilian Mittelstadt (23) look great, while Arsenal loanee Matteo Guendouzi (21) and October purchase Omar Alderete (23) are also thriving in Berlin.
Throw in the luring of veteran Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow and Koln striker Jhon Cordoba, and that’s a nice little first transfer window for a sporting director.
“Cunha, there are many clubs who would love to have them on their roster,” Friedrich said. “Guendouzi is just amazing. He came in and started off as if he were here for 10 years already. … We also players like Dedrick Boyata, our captain, who is older, and in the end it’s all about the mixture, too.
“A lot of important and veteran players left the club. This always takes a bit of time. We want to have progress quicker but it’s important that you don’t make mistakes and you don’t question what you’re doing. We know we need more points and we have to get up in the league and we will. I’m very positive that we will.”
Friedrich notes that the club has plenty of talent but needs experience to improve “‘the machinery,” as he calls the wisdom that comes with playing together and knowing each other.
But Hertha can get by, for now, on its youthful vigor and talent.
Cunha has a filthy skill set, the capability to embarrass defenders with typical Brazilian aplomb. Cunha’s amongst the league’s early season leaders in key passes, accurate crosses, duels won, and big chances created. His 26 successful dribbles are two off the league lead and Lukebakio’s 17 put him in the top five, too.
Then there’s Guendouzi, who made an instant impression on Friedrich. The 21-year-old has only been with Hertha for four matches but is averaging 7.1 duels won per 90 minutes and is winning 70 percent of said duels.
Even for a small sample size, that’s solid.
“Guendouzi is amazing,” Friedrich said. “He’s very very confident. He knows his strengths and has huge ambition. He has intrinsic motivation and wants to win games. He’s a winner-type. He proved it from day one in Berlin. He had to sit in quarantine for 14 days and day one, he showed it. If you have an eye for players you know already that this guy is a top player now and is going to be a top player in the future. He will play Champions League. We have him on loan only for one year but we’re happy to have him at least for this one year.”
Friedrich’s also high on the young players coming out of the United States and “has a big heart for America.”
That’s one of the reasons he opted to make a move to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire after a brief stint with Wolfsburg following his eight years and 288 matches for Hertha.
Friedrich further fell in love with America during his time with the Chicago Fire, where he participated in such institutions as singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field.
He has a second home in Los Angeles and has seen first-hand the capabilities of American talent. German clubs were quick to jump into the United States for their clubs brands, but are now seeing the benefits of the nation’s soccer talent.
“We can learn a lot about marketing and branding, you guys are probably one of the best in the world, but you can see you’re catching up in soccer in the quality of players that come to Europe,” Friedrich said.
“[Brenden] Aaronson is a very good prospect who’s made it to Austria. [Giovanni] Reyna is on another level already. Sargent is also an important player for Bremen and it shows that American soccer is getting more interesting for everyone in Europe. MLS gets bigger every year. The focus is different compared to the time even when I was in America. I was definitely surprised by the quality of soccer then, but now it’s on a different level.”
So perhaps the next American star on the move could wind up in Berlin under Friedrich, who played the 2012 MLS season with Chicago. The Fire finished fourth in the East and were just nine points off San Jose’s Supporters’ Shield pace.
Back to the Bundesliga, though.
Hertha is a big club in a big city with big resources, massive money put into the club since 2019.
As the derby looms Friday, Friedrich is working on both the short- and long-term. The talent is there. The promise is there. The money’s been there.
But now it’s about building a powerful team from top-to-bottom, and it seems like Friedrich’s got the character to go with his aforementioned charisma.
“We want to stand for something,” he said. “It’s about people, how you work together, how you respect yourself. The club has done a fantastic job the past couple of years. We want to be a fantastic team that draws people attention with good football. We want to entertain people. People, values, and success are the most important to us.”
There is something somewhat dull about knowing the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, the lone curiosity being the final number of his final tally, we get it, but most of what Haaland is doing this season is simply marvelous and to be admired without much fear.
Haaland’s Premier League-leading 28 goals have him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s fantastic and firing Harry Kane.
The Norwegian star piled up 20 goals in a single Premier League season faster than any player in history… by seven games (Kevin Phillips of Sunderland did it in 21). Now he’s within five goals of equalling Kevin Phillips’ record for most goals in a debut Premier League season.
And the later this season goes with him projected so far over the current record, the less chucking is accompanied by marking out the pace (especially considering Haaland was not beaten up by the World Cup, as Norway was not in the tournament). And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is rather realistic.
Haaland may not be likely to hit 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault and that figure isn’t entirely absurd. He’s played in 23 of Man City’s 24 games, scoring 26 goals.
Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.
Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.
Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:
30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)
Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.
Remember: you can watch all 380 Premier League games across NBC, USA Network, NBCSports.com and Peacock. We’ve got you covered.
Will Manchester City win yet another Premier League title? Can Arsenal push them all the way? Will Chelsea and Liverpool recover to finish in the top four? Can Manchester United’s new-look side surge into the title race? What about Tottenham? How will the new boys get on? Who will be the surprise package?
Those questions will be answered from August 2022 to May 2023, with the full list of Premier League fixtures.
While below are the answers to all of the questions you have around the Premier League fixtures and everything else you need to know for the upcoming season, with full details on the Premier League TV schedule across the NBC family of channels and more.
The Premier League fixtures for the 2022-23 season were announced on Thursday June 16, 2022 at 4am ET. Below is the full schedule, as you can watch all 380 games across our NBC platforms.
The Premier League fixture computer decides who plays who and when, as teams located close to one another are usually playing at home on opposite weekends to help with policing, crowd control and transport congestion in those areas.
When will the Premier League take a break for the 2022 World Cup?
When will the 2022-23 Premier League season finish?
The final day of the season will be on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
Which teams will compete in the 2022-23 Premier League?
These are the 20 teams which will compete in the Premier League for the upcoming season:
Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Leeds United, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers
2:45pm: AFC Bournemouth v Brighton
2:45pm: Leeds v Nottingham Forest
2:45pm: Leicester vs Aston Villa
3pm: Chelsea vs Liverpool
Wednesday 5 April
3pm: Man United v Brentford
3pm: West Ham v Newcastle
Saturday 8 April
7:30am: Man Utd v Everton
Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest
Brentford v Newcastle
Fulham v West Ham
Leicester v AFC Bournemouth
Spurs v Brighton
Wolves v Chelsea
12:30pm: Southampton v Man City
Sunday 9 April
9am: Leeds v Crystal Palace
11:30am: Liverpool v Arsenal
Saturday 15 April
7:30am: Aston Villa v Newcastle
Chelsea v Brighton
Everton v Fulham
Southampton v Crystal Palace
Spurs v AFC Bournemouth
Wolves v Brentford
12:30pm: Man City v Leicester
Sunday 16 April
9am: West Ham v Arsenal
11:30am: Nottingham Forest v Man Utd
Monday 17 April
3pm: Leeds v Liverpool
Friday 21 April
3pm: Arsenal v Southampton
Saturday 22 April
7:30am: Fulham v Leeds
Brentford v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace v Everton
Leicester v Wolves
Liverpool v Nottingham Forest
Sunday 23 April
9am: AFC Bournemouth v West Ham
9am: Newcastle v Spurs
Postponed due to European action
Man Utd v Chelsea
Brighton v Man City
Tuesday 25 April
2:30pm: Wolves v Crystal Palace
2:45pm: Aston Villa v Fulham
2:45pm: Leeds v Leicester
Wednesday 26 April
2:30pm: Nottingham Forest v Brighton
2:45pm: Chelsea v Brentford
2:45pm: West Ham v Liverpool
3pm: Man City v Arsenal
Thursday 27 April
2:45pm: Everton v Newcastle
2:45pm: Southampton v AFC Bournemouth
3:15pm: Spurs v Man Utd
Saturday 29 April
7:30am: Crystal Palace v West Ham
Brentford v Nottingham Forest
Brighton v Wolves
12:30pm: Arsenal v Chelsea
Sunday 30 April
9am: AFC Bournemouth v Leeds
9am: Fulham v Man City
9am: Man Utd v Aston Villa
9am: Newcastle v Southampton
11:30am: Liverpool v Spurs
Monday 1 May
3pm: Leicester v Everton
Wednesday 3 May
3pm: Liverpool v Fulham
3pm: Man City v West Ham
Thursday 4 May
3pm: Brighton v Man Utd
Saturday 6 May
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea
Spurs v Crystal Palace
Wolves v Aston Villa
12:30pm: Liverpool v Brentford
Sunday 7 May
9am: Man City v Leeds* subject to possible Champions League schedule
11:30am: Newcastle v Arsenal
2pm: West Ham v Man Utd
Monday 8 May
10am: Fulham v Leicester
12:30pm: Brighton v Everton
3pm: Nottingham Forest v Southampton
Saturday 13 May
Arsenal v Brighton
Aston Villa v Spurs
Brentford v West Ham
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest
Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth
Everton v Man City
Leeds v Newcastle
Leicester v Liverpool
Man Utd v Wolves
Southampton v Fulham
Saturday 20 May
AFC Bournemouth v Man Utd
Brighton v Southampton
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Man City v Chelsea
Newcastle v Leicester
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Spurs v Brentford
West Ham v Leeds
Wolves v Everton
Sunday 28 May
16:00 Arsenal v Wolves
16:00 Aston Villa v Brighton
16:00 Brentford v Man City
16:00 Chelsea v Newcastle
16:00 Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest
16:00 Everton v AFC Bournemouth
16:00 Leeds v Spurs
16:00 Leicester v West Ham
16:00 Man Utd v Fulham
16:00 Southampton v Liverpool
Pep Guardiola’s Man City can momentarily cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to five points but there are question marks swirling around the fitness of goalscoring machine Erling Haaland heading into this game. City are looking for a three-peat of Premier League titles and five in the last six seasons, but Arsenal don’t look like they’re going to slip up anytime soon. So City can’t afford to either. They’ve won six in a row in all competitions, scoring 23 and conceding once in that run. We all know they love to kick on at this point of the campaign, so let’s see if they can do it again.
As for Liverpool, well, it has been one step forward and one step back pretty much all season long for Jurgen Klopp’s side. After their 7-0 shellacking of Manchester United, they then lost at Bournemouth to infuriate Klopp and their fans further. The front three of Salah, Nunez and Gakpo are all clicking through the gears nicely but Liverpool have to become more consistent and dominant games in midfield if they’re going to close the gap to the current top four. They’ve had success against City in recent years as their contrasting style of play match up well but this seems like a different, more fragile, Liverpool this season.
How to watch Manchester City vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday TV Channel: Peacock Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
The fitness of Haaland is obviously a huge concern for City as he suffered a groin issue and did not play for Norway over the international break and returned to Manchester for treatment. If he isn’t fit to start then expect Julian Alvarez to come in. Elsewhere, City are flying with Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gunodgan having a big role to play with Phil Foden out following his Appendectomy. As always, Kevin de Bruyne is the main man and will relish this chance to cut Arsenal’s lead atop the table.
Liverpool just can’t find consistency right now. They have improved defensively but they are a real Jekyll and Hyde team. Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of that and showed his frustration after their defeat at Bournemouth, which was their last Premier League game and was way back on March 11. He’s had a few weeks to stew over that loss and it will be intriguing to see what plan he has come up with. For this game as earlier this season Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 at Anfield by playing a front four which pinned City in.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Erling Haaland (groin) | OUT: Phil Foden (appendix removed)
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Calvin Ramsay (knee), Stefan Bajcetic (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: Luis Diaz (knee), Darwin Nunez (ankle), Kostas Tsimikas (rib), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Joe Gomez (undisclosed)
He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.
However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.
Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.
“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”
Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.
Which games could he miss?
After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.
It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.
Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.