Why did Hertha Berlin’s new Bundesliga project fail? – Illuminations

My investment in Hertha Berlin was a mistake but I won’t give up, I won’t let anyone burn 375 million euros.

This is how investor Lars Windhorst, owner of German club Hertha Berlin, put it last February (2022), criticizing the management of the German club and the way it handled things, due to the deterioration of the team’s results in the Bundesliga for this season. (2021/2022), which perhaps drives the point home. The latter is in the coffin of a project that many in German football were optimistic about, but which has fallen victim to mismanagement.

the beginning

The start came in November 2019, when Windhurst announced the acquisition of 49.9% of the shares of Hertha Berlin, pledging to revive the German club and try to make it a rising force in the league, very similar to clubs such as Dortmund and, more recently, RB Leipzig, and the club contracted At the time, Mercato was in winter with a number of rising stars, including the Brazilian “Mateus Konya” from Leipzig, and the Polish “Krzysztof Piontik” from Milan.

The pandemic hit everyone, and with the return of football, Herta finished the league in tenth place (in the 2019/2020 season), and the following season (2020/2021) finished the competition in the 14th place, only two points behind relegation centres, before falling to relegation centers in the season (2021/2022). How did a project that everyone called promising two years ago turn into a “funkosh” approaching the end without producing tangible results justifying the money invested?

Ownership without management

The strict German law, which obliges investors to hold only 49% of the club’s shares, with fans holding 51% of the remaining shares, imposes significant restrictions on any investor in terms of decision-making and makes him almost permanently responsible to the supporters, which means that he pumps money to help the Athletic and administrative team, but without making fateful decisions at the strategic level alone, he must always come back to the members of the general assembly of the club, and he there are only four exceptions, which are clubs: Bayern Leverkusen, Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg and Leipzig.

Something like that annoys some investors over time, and therefore stops pumping money, and alienates others. It is unlikely that you will find an Arab investor, for example, who would buy a German club, because of this law which will limit him in making fateful decisions or restructuring the club, as is currently happening in the English club Newcastle, and before that, Manchester City.

All this was accompanied by poor management of the club’s project, according to the description of Windhurst, who said that the management of the club was more concerned with preserving its positions than working on the sporting side, which has done at the expense of the club, which continued to decline. until he found himself in this miserable situation.

Jurgen’s option fails again

One day in the summer of 2008, after the end of Ottmar Hitzfeld’s era at Bayern Munich, the Bavarian club was looking for a new coach and then contacted Jurgen Klopp, according to statements by Christian Heidel, the sporting director of Mainz, who coach of Klopp at the time, and confirmed that he was next to the German coach. As the Bayern Munich administration communicated with him, Klopp received the deal with great enthusiasm at the time. .

But what happened next was that the management of the Bavarian club chose another coach, and by chance his name was Jürgen and the first letter of his nickname “K”, but instead of Klopp was Klinsmann, who had left the management of the German national team after reaching the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

Surely we all remember the former German soccer striker’s disastrous failure in the Bayern manager’s robe as he failed to finish the season after a series of home and European stumbles, including defeat of Wolfsburg – who won the league that season. – by four, and the resounding fall in Europe against Barcelona Guardiola by four as well, The team was eliminated from the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

By contrast, Klopp went to Germany’s other hub, Borussia Dortmund, and managed to turn them into a true local and European force, when they won the league twice, and the cup once, as well as to reach the Champions League final in 2013.

Returning to Klinsmann, after an acceptable experience with the USA national team which ended in 2016, the management of Hertha Berlin decided at the start of his project to use his expertise within the team of sports advisers of the club, before the club decided to appoint him as coach, to everyone’s surprise that Klinsmann did not have his training license, he had forgotten it at home in the United States under the pretext that he had not considered being appointed coach of the team.

After three months and ten matches, Klinsmann left Hertha Berlin, and after several months he left his position as an adviser at the club, only six months after his appointment, the club folded its page.

After Klinsmann, Hertha was replaced by five other coaches: Alexander Nouri, Bruno Labbadia, Pal Darday, Typhoon Korkut, and finally veteran Felix Magath, who currently coaches the team. The situation didn’t differ much when it came to the players who were supposed to be the face of the project, so Piontec moved to Fiorentina, and Konya preceded him to Atletico Madrid, even Matteo Guenuzi, who came on loan , did not continue and preferred to play under the colors of Marseille.

real project

You can say in your heart now that the city of Berlin is going to lose its footballing face in the Bundesliga with the current resounding fall of Hertha, but let me tell you that the German capital will not be affected much football-wise because it has already found the best representative of it, whether at local or European level, and without the need to spend a lot of money or adopt a project idea that later turns into a mirage.

In the 2019/2020 season, Union Berlin was playing its first season in the Bundesliga after promotion, and since the first season the difference between the two poles of the German capital has not been great, since the Union has finished the league behind Hertha with one goal. difference only in eleventh place, before ending last season (2020/2021 is in seventh place and participates in the European Conference League this season (2021/2022).

With promising Hertha Berlin project in the relegation positions, the rival is gearing up for the next season to contest the European League, having finished their successful season in fifth place, and a point has come between them and participation in the Champions League, as well as playing in the semi-finals of the Cup, during which he overthrew Hertha Berlin from the quarter-finals. .

Maybe Windhorst looked at the Union Berlin arrangement to find out his mistake in investing in Hertha, and maybe he discovered that there are clubs that deal with law 50 without a problem. +1 and pursue and achieve their goals, and maybe he discovered his mistake in giving the project – from the start – to the wrong men and they made a mirage out of it.

Opinion articles and blog posts do not necessarily express the opinion of the editorial board.

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