Hertha Berlin

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World record-holding manager Gutendorf dies at 93

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The world record holder for most teams managed has died at the age of 93.

Rudi Gutendorf, who managed in the United States with the NASL’s St. Louis Stars (1968), last managed in 2003 when he led the Samoa national team.

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Those are two of 55 teams he led onto the pitch, 22 of which were national teams. He led teams from CONCACAF (Trinidad and Tobago), CAF (Ghana), CONMEBOL (Chile), OFC (Fiji), and AFC (Australia).

The German-born Gutendorf did a lot of his club work in Europe, leading clubs as big as Hamburg, Schalke, Real Valladolid, and Hertha Berlin.

Gutendorf managed Rwanda in the wake of the country’s dark civil war. From DW.com:

“Such hate, you cannot believe. I was able to unite these two tribes to play football, and good football,” he said in a 2013 interview of the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

What a fascinating career Gutendorf had, and the stories he’s told.

Nashville SC signs first Designated Player

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David Accam’s got himself a strike partner.

Nashville SC announced the signing of its first Designated Plater on Tuesday, about eight months away from its first Major League Soccer match.

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The player is German midfielder Hany Mukhtar, who will spend the rest of the season on loan to current club Brondby before moving to MLS full-time.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder also plays right and left wing, and represented Germany at nearly every youth level. Mukhtar also has Sudanese eligibility through his father..

He joined Hertha Berlin’s academy at age 7, and has been on the books for the German side as well as Benfica and Red Bull Salzburg.

Mukhtar made 10 appearances in the Bundesliga, and overall has 28 goals in 134 professional games. For Brondby, his stats amount to 26 goals and 34 assists in 120 appearances.

On the surface, Mukhtar is ready-made to be an upper level MLS player and deserving of DP status.

Lewandowski’s brace helps Bayern rescue opening-day draw (video)

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BERLIN (AP) Amid reports that Brazilian winger Philippe Coutinho was to join the club, Bayern Munich was held to 2-2 by Hertha Berlin in the opening game of the Bundesliga on Friday.

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Robert Lewandowski scored twice for the seven-time defending champion, but Bayern failed to make the most of its chances and will rue the setback after Hertha capitalized on two mistakes to score twice in a three-minute period.

Bayern coach Niko Kovac congratulated counterpart Ante Covic after making his league debut in charge of the visitors.

Lewandowski did not have to wait long before opening his league account in the 24th minute, sliding in to convert Serge Gnabry‘s cross after Joshua Kimmich was given plenty of space to surge through the middle.

A rout looked possible as Hertha’s defense continued to look shaky, but Dodi Lukebakio struck against the run of play in the 36th for the visitors, the Belgian’s shot from distance taking a big deflection off Vedad Ibisevic’s back to give Manuel Neuer no chance.

Marko Grujic stunned the home fans when he made it 2-1 three minutes later, winning a duel against Benjamin Pavard before running onto a through ball from Ibisevic and rounding Neuer to score.

“A bit surprising,” Germany coach Joachim Low said of the halftime scoreline.

Bayern started the second half as it had the first, before VAR intervened after Grujic dragged Lewandowski’s shirt from behind and the striker fell.

Lewandowski dusted himself off to equalize from the spot on the hour-mark.

Hertha Berlin bidding farewell to Pal Dardai after 23 years

Soeren Stache/dpa via AP
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BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin’s long link with Pal Dardai will end on Saturday when he leads the team from the sidelines for the last time.

Hertha will also bid adieu to three players and two assistant coaches against Bayer Leverkusen, but Dardai — who is making way for under-23 coach Ante Covic — will receive the biggest send-off after 4+ years as coach and an association going back to 1996.

Dardai, who made a club-record 286 Bundesliga appearances for Hertha over 14 years, saved the club from relegation as coach and established a tough but unspectacular team capable of upsetting any of the rest.

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Dardai has been enjoying the relative calm around the club since it was announced on April 16 that he would not continue. Hertha had lost its previous five Bundesliga matches.

“These four weeks were a dream. Even my wife said, `You don’t need a break. You look good again.’ That’s how it is without the media,” said Dardai, whose bid to qualify for European qualification was disrupted by a host of injuries.

Hertha is 10th with nothing but pride at stake on the final day of the season, in contrast to Leverkusen, which is fifth and fighting for Champions League qualification.

Dardai, who had complained that expectations had grown too high at the club, expressed his gratitude to Hertha for the chance to coach in the Bundesliga.

“I’m grateful for these experiences. I even got money for it,” Dardai said. “It’s a gift from life and I’ve shown that I can do the Bundesliga. Pal Dardai is now a whole other type of coach than four years ago.”

A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dardai brought his uncompromising style to management, too, starting in the club’s youth setup. After taking over from Jos Luhukay in February 2015, Dardai saved the team from relegation and was given a permanent contract.

Dardai was also coaching the Hungarian national team, but he gave up that position to focus on the club. He brought tactical discipline to the side and convinced the underperforming players to up their game. Dardai led Hertha to a seventh-place finish in 2016, sixth in 2017 and a spot in the Europa League, and 10th last year.

A win over Leverkusen on Saturday would ensure Hertha’s best second half to the season since 2008-09.

“Then you couldn’t write anymore that Hertha played a bad second half to the season. Then you have something less to write about,” Dardai told journalists, a frequent target.

Instead of the usual 10 tickets for a game, Dardai ordered 30 for Leverkusen’s visit.

“This time I was cheeky,” Dardai joked. “The manager (Michael Preetz) was nice. I got everything I asked for and I didn’t have to pay for them this time.”

Hertha will also bid farewell to players Fabian Lustenberger, who is leaving after 12 years, Julius Kade, who is joining city rival Union Berlin on a free transfer, and American goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, who did not have his contract extended.

Klinsmann, the son of former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, will not be in the stadium on Saturday because of “personal reasons,” Preetz said.

Assistant coaches Rainer Widmayer and Admir Hamzagic are also leaving.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Hertha bans flags, banners after fan violence with police

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin announced on a ban on flags and banners for home games following fan trouble at its previous Bundesliga game in Dortmund.

The club says the measure “applies to both home and away fans” carrying banners into Berlin’s Olympiastadion and “this ban applies immediately and until further notice.”

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Hertha says there will be increased security measures to ensure the ban is enforced and it asks supporters attending the game against Leipzig on Saturday to arrive early.

The move comes after a number of Hertha fans fought police at the beginning of their team’s 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Oct. 27.

Media reports suggested around 100 fans were involved. The violence broke out after police tried to remove a huge banner commemorating 15 years of a group of Hertha ultras. Masked fans set off flares behind the banner.

Police said 45 people were injured – 35 of them from the use of pepper spray and 10 from violence. Some people were taken to a hospital for treatment and “all injured police officers remained fit for duty.”

The German soccer federation said Monday it was launching a probe into the disturbances.

Hertha general manager Michael Preetz criticized the Dortmund police for their “excessive” intervention.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports