Chaotic days in the West End
Magath chops wood, Herta’s troubles remain
Written by Stefan Ursfeld, Berlin
05/24/2022 3:29 PM
Hertha BSC continues to play in the German Bundesliga. This is perhaps the best news for the club from Westend in Berlin in a long time. But there is little time to enjoy success. The 2-0 win over Hamburg SV is just the starting point for complete turmoil. Herta is facing tough weeks.
It’s over for Felix Magath. After two months working as coach of Hertha Berlin, the 68-year-old wanted to “go home and chop wood”. The man who won an amazing championship with Wolfsburg in 2009 spoke of the “toughest task” of his career. “It was my job to stay awake—it just happened,” he said. “So it’s all right,” he said, then disappeared back to his new job. What happens in Berlin now no longer matters to him. He will follow her in the news. Wild times begin for the rest of the staff.
“We have to keep the club calm,” appealed Kevin-Prince Boateng, who applied for the club’s star role after his 90 minutes in Hamburg and the subsequent interviews after the successful relegation. But that’s a Hertha thing. So far, they are without a coach, perhaps without a president and with only one managing director, Fred Bobic, who will remain in Berlin for a long time, after Carsten Schmidt resigned last year for personal reasons.
Bobbik has also been criticized. With so many new employees, he arrived at Westend in Berlin in the summer of 2021 and not only made friends in the office. Almost all his transfers, which he made with Dirk Dufner, who brought him with him, almost all failed and were one of the reasons for the relegation battle, in which Hertha already entered with Typhon Corcot installed by Bobic, and then through Felix Magath and the Scotsman. As a result, Assistant Mark Fotheringham can be successfully designed. The team is now, like the rest of the club, under scrutiny.
Confusion over President Gegenbauer
No publication is considered safe after these three years following summer 2019, when the money came in. From the president to the management. Chief Financial Officer Ingo Schiller, who will leave the club after more than 20 years, will start, as “Tagesspiegel” reported shortly after the final whistle at Hamburg’s Volkspark stadium and the club confirmed this morning after the successful relegation. He will leave the club on October 31, 2022.
Days before the decisive match, it was heard in Berlin that President Werner Gegenbauer wanted to scuttle a motion to be voted on at the plenary meeting. With his resignation on Tuesday, which was first reported by several media outlets, the all-day gossip in the capital was confirmed. Even if the club denied the reports shortly afterwards, staying in the position comes close to the possibility of Hertha’s championship next season. Managing Director Freddy Bobic commented early in the afternoon on the confusion surrounding the withdrawal, saying, “He is currently our president.” A few hours later, Herta announced her resignation.
The departure of the 71-year-old, who has led the club since 2008, may not have been more subdued – in contrast to his public silence in recent months. He could come out to the public for the last time and comment on the conflict with investor Lars Windhurst. Transferred over several tranches from the summer of 2019, 375 million euros have turned a gray rat into the city’s top club. Not just for sporting reasons, but because of scary game performance. While the team’s breakup was stark, the club still made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Money melted into the hands of the club. Nothing is left.
The coach’s multiple changes, including the mayhem surrounding Jürgen Klinsmann, was the starting point for a long opera that continues to this day, whose winners are rarely known and gave insight into the darker abyss nearly every week.
What is Windhorst’s layout?
Gegenbauer and Windhorst have intertwined fatefully over the past three years. As an open power struggle erupted between them, most of them shook their heads. Recently, a huge banner “Windhorst and Gegenbauer out” was hung over the eastern curve at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The fans had had enough. Enough of the power struggle for their club, which brought them only malice and ridicule in the rest of the republic and in Berlin they lost their hegemony to their rival Köpenick Union Berlin.
They were tired of the silence of the string-puller Gegenbauer and the disruptive fire of the Investor, who loudly reported via Bild after beating Hoffenheim in the first game under Felix Magath and immediately dashed hopes sprung up for more relaxed weeks. until the end of the season.
Next public meeting on Sunday will be all about chaos. To what extent Windhorst will play a role in this remains unclear. It is considered certain that the investor will make a public statement there. However, it is not yet possible to say for sure whether he will also send a presidential candidate to the race. However, it is not excluded.
So far, only a few candidates have publicly thrown their hats into the ring for Gegenbauer’s successor. Kay Bernstein, a former and current entrepreneur, has already positioned himself in the position. Other names such as Supervisory Board name Jörn Klein and Vice President Thorsten Mansky roam the club’s environment. According to Windhurst, he has no interest in the position and hardly any realistic chance.
On the other hand, the 41-year-old Bernstein is well connected to the Hertha scene and could at least get an agreement between the divided clubs. The former player, who resides with his company in an industrial park in Neukölln, wants to bring the club back from the western end to the city center and ensure that the club is transparently reoriented.
There is no exact program yet. This should be done in large groups in the weeks leading up to the elections. It will be about the stadium that Herta has wanted for so long, it will be about shutting down major construction sites, developing sporting competence and also in a way about how Hertha is out of an eternal downward spiral.
The relegation that was just prevented paves the way for a fresh start in Berlin based in perhaps less difficult, but only the recent collapse of the club, which has been in free fall since the summer of 2019, has been prevented for the time being. Now the hard work begins. It will be a long time before the wounds of the past three years have healed, that’s for sure. Nobody in Berlin seems really optimistic at the moment.