Hertha Berlin closes out the first half of the German Bundesliga season Saturday against Borussia Dortmund. It should be a big test for
Hertha's 20-year-old German-American, John Brooks,
against one of the world's top strikers, Pole Robert Lewandowski
if he plays.
For the second time this fall, Brooks was pulled by Coach Jos Luhukay
from a game in the first half. After Saturday's game, Luhukay said
it was time Brooks grew up.
“John needs to grow up," Lukukay told
Morgenpost of his decision to replace Brooks in 38th minute
of Hertha's 3-2 win over Werder Bremen that left it in seventh place. "We’re in the Bundesliga, which is tough as nails. He needs to become an adult.”
In August, Brooks was
twice named to the Kicker Team of the Week, but in between Luhukay pulled him from a game against Hamburg in the 23rd minute. Like against Werder, Hertha went on to win, 1-0. Luhukay's decision to go
public with his rebuke of Brooks after the Werder game was an indication of how upset he was with the situation.
“Once again, John went into a game lacking intensity. Then
he’s not active enough,” said Luhukay, who doesn’t like to sub players before halftime. “I’m sorry about it, but I have to intervene to help the team.”
Brooks, who has played eight of Hertha's 16 games, was injured in late
September and went 10 weeks without playing for Hertha before he started and played well in its 2-0 win at Eintracht Braunschweig on Dec. 8.
With Sebastian Langkamp
out until the end of the year with a muscle teat, Brooks was expected to remain in the lineup alongside captain Fabian
at center back.
"If he has character and questions himself," added Luhukay, "John is on the right track. If he does not do that, I need to, as coach, lead him there.
But it has to come from within himself. Because this is not the first time." Americans in Bundesliga (2013-14): GP (GS) PLAYER (TEAM) 15 (13) Timmy Chandler
(Nuremberg) 13 (8) Jermaine Jones
(Schalke 04) 11 (7) Fabian Johnson
(Hoffenheim) 8 (7) John Brooks
(Hertha Berlin) 1 (0) Steve Cherundolo
(Hannover 96) 0 David Yelldell
Bayer Leverkusen) 0 Julian Green
(Bayern Munich) 0 Michael Parkhurst