Hertha Berlin

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Klinsmann’s parting shots cause anger at Hertha Berlin

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BERLIN — Hertha Berlin thought it was done with Jurgen Klinsmann after his abrupt resignation as coach.

Not so.

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The publication of details from a 22-page diary that Klinsmann wrote during his short time at Hertha has caused a furor at the club and tipped an already testy break-up even further into acrimony.

Hertha general manager Michael Preetz said the club was checking its legal options. He was accused by Klinsmann of “catastrophic failures” and a “culture of lying.”

The Sport Bild magazine published details from Klinsmann’s journal on Wednesday, when it reported that one of the 55-year-old former great’s conclusions after quitting on Feb. 11 was that “the management team has to be replaced immediately. If that doesn’t happen, the great new signings will become average players after a while.”

With Klinsmann at the helm, Hertha spent an estimated $83 million on player signings in January – more than any other team in the world. The moves were made possible because of financier Lars Windhorst’s $250 million investment in the club.

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Klinsmann was particularly critical in his journal of Preetz, whose functions he wanted to take over while he was still coach. Klinsmann had said he left because he couldn’t work with the German coaching model, where a team manager shares responsibility for player signings and welfare. Klinsmann wanted full control for every sporting aspect.

Klinsmann said former Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick had turned down the opportunity to coach Hertha in November — before he himself took over — because he couldn’t work under Preetz. That claim was rejected by Rangnick’s agent, Marc Kosicke, on Thursday.

In his journal, Klinsmann also made comments on every Hertha player, describing Salomon Kalou as “too old and content,” fellow forward Dodi Lukebakio as “not willing to suffer,” and the goalkeepers of “not being Bundesliga standard.”

Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer hit back at the “shabby allegations” and a visibly annoyed Preetz said the attacks were “perfidious and unworthy.”

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Windhorst, who brought Klinsmann to the club in the first place, declined to comment. Interim Hertha coach Alexander Nouri, who worked as Klinsmann’s assistant for the 77 days he was at the club, said he “knew nothing” about the journal.

“It’s indisputable that the club is damaged,” Preetz said.

The club has other problems. Klinsmann’s tenure as coach did not go as planned – he was supposed to lead the club toward the European qualification places after he was appointed on Nov. 27. He left after an uninspiring record of three wins, three draws and three losses in the Bundesliga. Hertha was also knocked out of the German Cup by Schalke.

Nouri took over and Hertha earned a 2-1 win at Paderborn, but that that was followed last weekend by a 5-0 loss at home against Cologne. The Hertha fans mocked the players by singing “Oh wie ist das schon” (Oh, how wonderful).

Hertha is only six points above Fortuna Dusseldorf in the relegation zone ahead of their match on Friday.

Klinsmann barred from returning to role on Hertha Berlin board

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Jurgen Klinsmann’s acrimonious exit as Hertha Berlin coach, where he slammed the club for “difficult conditions” where he “disagreed on many things,” has potentially cost him a position on the club’s board of directors.

During a press conference on Thursday, club owner Lars Windhorst, president Werner Gegenbauer, and general manager Michael Preetz stated that Klinsmann would not be allowed to transition back into a role on the Hertha Berlin board for the time being, until their differences are settled.

“Unfortunately, I must say that the way Jurgen Klinsmann resigned makes a further working relationship with him on the board of Hertha BSC impossible,” Windhorst said during the press conference. “Unfortunately, the way he left is so unacceptable that we cannot continue a constructive collaboration between him and the other people in charge.

Windhorst said that it would be possible for Klinsmann to return to the club, but not before time for the animosity to dissipate. “If we can count on him and his guidance in some other form in the future after all the dust has settled, we will see,” he said. “I am neither shutting any doors, nor am I knocking anyone out as it has been written today.”

“I believe he regrets the decision,” Windhorst said of Klinsmann’s resignation. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t fix things to keep hold of him, because even in the short time he was here, we noticed the effect on sponsors, advertising and income that his name had, that it could have led to big financial gains for Hertha.”

“There are different views [between Klinsmann and me] on how the job of a head coach is defined,” Preetz said. “It is correct that we could not agree until he resigned. However, things that I heard yesterday, that I am sitting on the bench and show up on the sideline, were never discussed between the two of us. If there are problems and conflicts then I am used to discussing them and to try and find a solution. You can’t do that if you turn around and run away.”

Klinsmann spent just 79 days in charge of Hertha Berlin, taking charge of nine matches distributed evenly among wins, draws, and losses. A 3-1 home loss to FC Mainz was the final straw.

The former U.S. national team coach took to Facebook to suggest a rift with the club hierarchy as the reason for his resignation. “Things are different in Germany, where everyone gets to have their say, everyone plays a role, the whole management structure,” Klinsmann said, suggesting he had bugs in his ear during his short tenure. “In the end only one can decide, and I feel it has to be the coach. And we disagreed there. Unfortunately we disagreed on many things.”

Klinsmann ruffled feathers during his short stint, demoting goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry upon arrival, which was a bad look given Petry’s critical comments of Jurgen’s son Jonathan during the latter’s stint at Hertha over a decade ago. He botched paperwork for his coaching license and closed training sessions to media and fans, a decision which was labeled a “misunderstanding” and reversed by the club the next day.

The 55-year-old was still expected to return to his position on the board after his departure as coach, a position which he left to take over the coaching role a few months ago. Klinsmann’s relationship with Hertha now seems teetering on the edge, if not entirely destroyed.

Klinsmann defends quitting Hertha, suggests power struggle

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BERLIN — Jurgen Klinsmann has defended his abrupt resignation as Hertha Berlin coach and suggested that cultural differences and a power struggle were behind his decision to quit after just nine Bundesliga games.

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The former Germany and United States coach addressed fans in a live broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday, when he apologized for the manner of his announcement the day before — also on Facebook — and suggested he had misjudged the situation he was getting into when he accepted the job on Nov. 27.

“Conditions were very difficult for me, perhaps because I’ve had other experiences in other countries. I’ve experienced life in Italy and France and England, of course,” Klinsmann said, referring to his playing career.

Klinsmann said he regretted that he hadn’t been given full control over the squad and that he clashed on several occasions with general manager Michael Preetz, whose duties he felt should be his own.

“In Germany, we’re used to having a manager on the substitutes bench at the side of the pitch and that he participates, that he’s there for the players, and keeps the door open for them. I wasn’t used to that anymore. I know the English model for a manager – they’re called managers in England, not coaches – has only one job and that’s being the boss of the club,” Klinsmann said.

“They’re different in Germany, where everyone gets to have their say, everyone plays a role, the whole management structure. In the end only one can decide, and I feel it has to be the coach. And we disagreed there. Unfortunately we disagreed on many things.”

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The turning point came after Hertha’s meek 3-1 loss at home to Mainz on Saturday, which came four days after its extra-time defeat to Schalke in the German Cup.

“I hardly slept at all that night and then I came marching in early yesterday morning, and I’m a type of person that can hardly be stopped. Sure, if I had spoken to a couple of people, they probably would have convinced me to keep going, to take two or three days off or whatever. I didn’t have the day off that the team had and that’s how it happened,” Klinsmann said.

Klinsmann’s decision to quit caught Hertha by surprise, with the players and Preetz only finding out shortly before he made the announcement on Facebook.

Much was expected of Klinsmann when he was appointed, and an extensive backroom staff was hired to help him deliver on the promise provided by a $250 million investment from new backer Lars Windhorst.

Klinsmann was supposed to lead Hertha up the standings toward the European qualification places. But the team is still fighting off relegation.

“A lot of you said it ended in chaos,” Klinsmann told fans. “That’s absolutely not true, absolutely not true. This team is stabilized. We came in and the team was practically in a relegation place, level on points, and now there’s six points difference. The team is stabilized and playing in whole different way to the way we found it.”

Hertha’s record under Klinsmann in the Bundesliga is three wins, three draws and three defeats. The 55-year-old said he was sure the team will stay up, regardless of who is coach. Assistant coach Alexander Nouri is in charge for now.

“The goal for the year is survival, next year the goal is towards Europe,” Klinsmann said. “The goals are very important. If you don’t have goals, there’s no point in getting out of bed in the morning.”

Preetz, Windhorst and Hertha club president Werner Gegenbauer – who rarely makes public statements – are to hold a joint press conference to address the issues on Thursday.

Klinsmann quits as Hertha Berlin boss

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Former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has put up a post on social media to explain why he will step down as Hertha Berlin’s manager, effective immediately, after just 10 weeks in charge.

Hertha’s assistant coach Alexander Nouri will take charge for their trip to last place Paderborn this weekend.

Klinsmann, 55, took charge of the Bundesliga club on a short-term basis in late November and has led them to three wins from his nine games in charge with three defeats, two of which came against title-chasing Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

In a post on his personal Facebook page on Tuesday, Klinsmann explained why he will no longer be the coach at Hertha and as USMNT fans are accustomed to, he didn’t hold back.

“In this way, I say a big thank you to all players, fans, spectators, supervisors and staff of Hertha BSC for the support, the many encounters and the exchange in the past ten weeks. This time was extremely exciting for me and brought many interesting new insights. The Club and the city have grown even stronger to my heart.

“At the end of November, we met the wish of the club leadership with a highly competent team and helped it in a difficult time. We were on a very good way in the relatively short time, thanks to the support of many people despite mostly difficult games, we now have six points distance from the relegation place. I am firmly convinced that Hertha will create the goal.

“As a head coach, however, I also need the trust of the people acting for this task, which is not yet done. Especially in the relegation fight, unity, cohesion and focus on the essentials are the most important elements. If they are not guaranteed, I can’t take advantage of my potential as a trainer and can’t live up to my responsibility either. After long consideration, I’ve come to the decision to give up my position as head coach and return to my original long-term role on the supervisory board. The followers, the players and the employees have grown to my heart during this time and that’s why I will continue to fever with Hertha. I’m still looking forward to many encounters in the city or in the stadium.”

This reasoning is a little strange because Hertha were Europe’s biggest spenders in the January window after splashing out $83 million as they signed midfielder Lucas Tousart from Lyon for $27.5 million (then loaned him back right away), striker Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan for $24.2 million and the duo of Matheus Cunha and Santiago Ascacibar as the Berlin club also spent heavily in the summer before Klinsmann arrived.

Given Klinsmann’s role as an advisor to Hertha, the club where his son Jonathan is currently a goalkeeper (out on loan at St. Gallen this season) and the team his father supported, it seems like he will still be heavily involved at the club but will take a back seat. Many who know Klinsmann best believe he is much better suited to a technical director role than a coach and majority investor Lars Windhorst will want him to stick around.

This was Klinsmann’s first coaching job since he was fired by as USMNT head coach in November 2016 and it has gone fairly well as he’s steadied the ship at Hertha and pushed them away from the relegation zone, even if they did cough up a 2-0 lead in the German Cup to lose 3-2 to Schalke last week.

The German national team legend primarily leaves in California and has often talked about how comfortable his life is there and there were some other issues with him not having his coaching licenses to hand.

All in all it seemed like Klinsmann was doing Hertha a big favor rather than the other way around.

We all know by now that it is Klinsmann’s way or the highway and his departure is probably more about Hertha’s hierarchy not wanting to do things his way rather than their huge spending in the transfer market to upgrade the playing squad. It would have been fun to see how it all played out and it will be intriguing to see if Klinsmann will return to management in the coming months as he’s dipped his toes back in the water with a smidgen of success.

AC Milan striker Piatek nearing switch to Hertha Berlin

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Just months ago, Krzysztof Piatek was hailed as the savior of AC Milan, the man to bring the club back to the promised land. Now, he’s being shipped off to Hertha Berlin.

Despite links to striker-starved Premier League clubs like Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United, Piatek looks instead headed to Germany where he has been pictured arriving for a medical in the capital.

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Since leaving his native Poland in the summer of 2018, Piatek has spent his career in Italy, first with Genoa where he burst onto the scene with 19 goals in 21 appearances. The mid-table Italian side turned him around quickly and made a hefty profit selling Piatek for $57 million to AC Milan.

He was spectacular upon arrival at AC Milan, scoring six goals in his first seven Serie A appearances, but things soon dried up. He scored just three more times in the last 11 league games of last season, and this campaign he has struggled mightily to find the back of the net with just four goals in 18 league appearances. With the January arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Piatek was firmly planted on the bench the last three league matches.

According to Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports, Piatek will make a permanent switch to Hertha Berlin for a $30 million fee that includes bonuses and add-ons, which represents a massive loss for AC Milan. Thomas reports that Spurs were only interested in a loan deal for the 24-year-old, and it’s odd that Milan would wish to offload Piatek for such a cut-rate price rather than hope he boosts his value even slightly on loan elsewhere. A loan would seem to benefit all parties, with a chance for Piatek to reclaim some value while also proving a low-risk temporary signing for one of the many Premier League teams looking to replace an injured starting striker.

Hertha sits 13th in the Bundesliga table, a club that has struggled to score this campaign with just 24 goals in 19 matches. The club has scored one or fewer goals in seven of its last 10 league matches, although they have been in good form recently with just one loss over its last six, putting a five-game November losing streak in the rear-view mirror.