Hertha given a black eye

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Ber­lin

– Hertha Ber­lin have lit­tle time to pick up the pieces of their failed col­lab­o­ra­tion with coach Juer­gen Klins­mann (above), who has left the club af­ter only eight weeks in charge, if they are to win their fight to avoid rel­e­ga­tion.

The Ber­lin­ers sit 14th in the Bun­desliga ta­ble, six points above the rel­e­ga­tion play­off spot, de­spite hav­ing pumped more than €70 mil­lion into trans­fers over the win­ter pe­riod as re­quested by Klins­mann.

The for­mer United States and Ger­many coach ar­rived in late Novem­ber ready to lead a “big club pro­ject” and say­ing Ber­lin de­served a big team like other ma­jor Euro­pean cities.

He pledged to turn Hertha from a rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened club to a con­tender for Euro­pean spots within two sea­sons, with the back­ing of Hertha’s ma­jor in­vestor Lars Wind­horst.

But on Tues­day his pro­ject crashed be­fore it had even taken flight. Klins­mann claimed there was a lack of trust from the bosses and wanted more con­trol taken away from sports di­rec­tor Michael Preetz and given to him.

Wind­horst, who has pledged a to­tal of more than €200 mil­lion af­ter com­ing in as an in­vestor last year, said on Thurs­day he re­gret­ted Klins­mann’s de­ci­sion.

He called the man­ner of his de­par­ture “un­ac­cept­able”, say­ing Klins­mann could no longer keep his seat on the club board.

“Un­for­tu­nately the way he left is so un­ac­cept­able that a con­struc­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion with him in such a form can­not con­tinue,” Wind­horst told a news con­fer­ence. “It is re­gret­table to have left so abruptly but we have to live with it.

“This is not ac­cept­able. Maybe you can do it as a teenager but in the busi­ness world among adults, such things should not hap­pen.”

Klins­mann’s de­ci­sion will no doubt hurt his own rep­u­ta­tion in the Bun­desliga, given that his only other league ex­pe­ri­ence was a failed brief spell at Bay­ern Mu­nich more than a decade ago. But it also leaves Hertha with a black eye and in com­plete tur­moil.

Play­ers said they were stunned and con­fused by the de­ci­sion but they must now re­cover in time for their trip to bot­tom club Pader­born to­day as they bat­tle to avoid the drop and earn back the trust of their fans.

Hertha will have some help with the ar­rival this week of Brazil­ian for­ward Matheus Cunha – one of Klins­mann’s win­ter trans­fers worth a re­ported €18 mil­lion. He was busy with the Brazil Un­der-23 team. –

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