« Close the camp of our club! » If a new recruit is greeted with those words, he’d better pack up and leave. Or not?
« Verpiss dich » sang Tic Tac Toe in 1996. But unlike the girl group, a few Hertha BSC « fans » didn’t address those words to someone they loved, but to someone they don’t even know yet. Which they want to get rid of before he even makes a mistake. The error in the matrix lies in the past. With the archrival’s signature. Now here he is, wearing the blue and white jersey.
Shortly after his arrival, Toni Leistner sensed quite clearly what some supporters felt about his move. From 2014 to 2018, he again played for the Unioner. So now West Berlin instead of East. But a lot has happened in the meantime (Hamburg, Cologne, VV St. Truiden). The time in Köpenick is long gone. « The here and now matters, » the newcomer said in an interview with ‘Hertha TV’.
During a media session at the training camp, the banner was of course also a topic. Leistner hadn’t seen him because he was already on the training ground. In retrospect, he thought it was a joke from the new teammates, he said. It didn’t hit him completely off guard, he said out loud to ‘kicker’, “We prepared for this. But I can tell you: I have thick skin.
As long as it doesn’t go against his family, it’s fine. You saw what happened when your family came into play three years ago in the DFB Cup. Hamburger SV lost to Third Division Dynamo Dresden. Bankruptcy alone would have been bitter enough. However, there was a completely different topic of conversation afterwards: Toni Leistner.
He had just been introduced as a newcomer to the Hanseatic League and didn’t really shine in his new club’s first competitive game against the old club. When it came to interviewing « Sky », he was insulted by a Dynamo fan. Leistner allowed himself to be provoked, climbed into the fan block and pushed the drunken fan to the ground.
In January 2022, on the Abendblatt podcast « HSV – we need to talk », he said in retrospect: « There was a moment when I thought, what are you doing here? But I just wanted to confront him. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much discussion. » The fan also insulted his family and walked towards the block where his father, brother and wife were also sitting. « That’s why my fuses blew. »
Leistner had to pay a fine for this, the story has now been worked out, but it would have taken a long time. Today, he can almost laugh about it again, especially about his climbing skills. « I’m proud to have gotten up there. A big thank you to my gym teacher. He put a lot of emphasis on gymnastics and recovery, » he said on the podcast.
But less with climbing qualities, but more with performance, he wants to convince his detractors in West Berlin and that from the first match: “It will come with time. It also took time for Manuel Neuer.
So he’s not going to « fuck it ». Neither did Neuer. And the gymnastics defender was positively received by part of the fan scene at a joint barbecue, Leistner said. There are also many users on social media who condemn the abusive poster.
Hertha chief executive Thomas Herrich is one of them and shortly afterwards clarified his thoughts on the campaign: « We have taken note of the banner and condemn hostilities of all kinds, not only on the net, but also on and off the pitch. This message is in no way consistent with our host culture.
The club wants to seek dialogue with the active fan scene. So that hopefully the focus can be redirected to the sporting side, because what matters is on the pitch. And maybe Leistner fans will think of another song after a few strong performances or even the resurgence. After all, Tic Tac Toe also had one called « Friends for Life ».