Hertha Berlin 1-2 Freiburg
(Piatek 70 ‘- Lienhart 17’, Petersen 78 ‘)
Olympic stadium, Berlin
“Something is wrong or I wouldn’t be here,” said new Hertha Berlin sporting director Fredi Bobic in an interview with Kicker magazine at the beginning of the week.
Everything that went wrong at Hertha was again evident on Saturday, as Hertha lost 2-1 at home to Freiburg amid whistles and boos from sections of the home crowd.
It was already a fifth defeat in seven Bundesliga appearances this season and, following a 6-0 loss to RB Leipzig last week, the pressure on head coach Pal Dardai is even higher.
“I’m not hanging on to my job, I’m just helping,” Dardai said after Hertha lost their first three games. “Hertha has probably been looking for a great trainer for a long time. Pal is a nice little trainer.”
Hardly an inspiring call to arms from the 45-year-old Hungarian, and not one that has been well received higher up in the Hertha hierarchy.
“It was an emotional outburst that was not appropriate for someone in a position of responsibility,” said Bobic. Kicker, although he insisted after the loss to Freiburg that Dardai’s work was not in danger “because the performance was generally correct, although the result was not. I still have saw a lot of positives. “
‘Just help’: Hertha coach Pal Darbai doesn’t make a convincing figure
Big City Club: take two
But Dardai’s comments reflect the uncertainty around his own position and even around the club at the start of Hertha’s second restart attempt since the arrival of investor Lars Windhorst.
Millionaire Windhorst, 44, has injected 374 million euros ($ 450 million) into Hertha since June 2019, in exchange for 66.6% control of the company that runs the club’s professional football division – although majority voting rights remain with club members in accordance with the 50 +1 rule.
Windhorst wants to transform Hertha from the unspectacular “old lady” of German football into a “Big City Club” representing Berlin in the Champions League. A first take-off attempt under the guidance of former head coach Jürgen Klinsmann was aborted amid chaotic scenes, before general manager and club legend Michael Preetz was also sacked.
“A lot of things haven’t worked out as well as Hertha would have liked, both on the pitch and in terms of the club’s external image,” said Bobic. “It’s my job to change things. But it will take time. It was no different in Frankfurt in 2016.”
Bobic was a controversial Eintracht Frankfurt appointment five years ago, but ultimately led the Eagles from the relegation playoffs to Cup glory, and a Europa League final penalty. On his first day at Hertha, he said: “There is a lot to do.
Fredi Bobic wants to see a winning mentality from his Hertha Berlin players
Bobic changes the mindset
It’s still early days for Bobic in Berlin, but his first moves in the transfer marker still raised eyebrows. In Matheus Cunha (€ 30m at Atletico Madrid), Jhon Cordoba (€ 20m at Krasnodar) and Dodi Lukebakio (loaned to Wolfsburg), Bobic immediately dropped three of Hertha’s four top scorers from last season. Or, as he sees it: “None of them hit double digits.”
Bobic was not happy with the raw statistics, but rather with the less quantifiable attributes: “Mindset: total sacrifice and the willingness to invest their qualities in the team.”
And while her spending has had fans scratching their heads, Hertha’s approach to signing replacements has, too. Announcing the arrival of Myziane Maolida from Nice, the club’s social media service produced a graphic featuring a loading bar that was “22%” full, suggesting more business was to come. This was not the case.
Street footballer: Kevin-Prince Boateng
Street football in Berlin
In any other club, such banality would quickly be forgotten. But at Hertha, it was just another blunder to add to previous marketing slogans like the infamous “We Try. We Fail. We Win”, and reinforce the image of a club that is still trying to figure it out. that it is.
Bobic hopes that Maolida, along with Suat Serdar (€ 8m from Schalke), Marco Richter (€ 7m from Augsburg) and Jurgen Ekkelenkamp (€ 3m from Ajax) can help establish a new ” DNA Hertha “, which he believes is best embodied by Kevin-Prince Boateng, the nomadic brother of German World Cup winner Jerome, is back at his home club for the first time since 2007.
“We have street footballers in Berlin and we want them to bring their mentality from the streets to the pitch,” said Bobic. Kicker. “You see it with Kevin-Prince Boateng. He doesn’t do things by intuition. And we have a huge pool of talent in Berlin that we can fish out of.”
Windhorst: “I will never give up”
Trendy “Big City Club”, hip “Berlin Start-Up” and now street footballers – Hertha’s latest attempt at revolution. But at least Bobic has a pedigree, and at least he will have time, although Windhorst’s patience surely won’t last forever.
“It certainly shouldn’t take five to ten years, but rather two to five,” the investor said in a recent interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and did not rule out injecting even more money. “My goal is to get Hertha to the top and if further investments need to be made for that, I will provide the funds. I will never give up.”
“We speak on the phone regularly and meet often,” Bobic said of his own relationship with Windhorst. “I think it’s great that he wants to succeed. We all want to. What bothers me – and I don’t mean Lars Windhorst – is the general commotion and the constant questions: when is the will it finally start?
“We are trying to launch a new development. It cannot be done with the snap of a finger. It takes time.”