Hertha’s bang with an announcement: Why the separation from Fredi Bobic was foreseeable
The message came on Saturday evening: After the defeat in the city derby against Union Berlin, Hertha BSC parted ways with sporting director Fredi Bobic. Even if the news came as a surprise, the decision was clear.
When the final whistle sounded in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, perhaps even Fredi Bobic didn’t know what turn the evening was to take. After the 2-0 defeat against city rivals Union Berlin, Bobic stood behind coach Sandro Schwarz and renewed the job guarantee he had given the coach before the game. Only a few hours later it was Bobic who lost his job. “The executive committee, together with the supervisory board of Hertha BSC e.V., decided unanimously to release its sporting director, Fredi Bobic, from his duties with immediate effect,” the club announced at 7:55 p.m. in a short press statement. More will be announced on Sunday afternoon in a press conference – according to unanimous press reports, club legend Andreas Neuendorf will be the possible successor.
Not even two years ago, Bobic arrived in Berlin with high expectations, where he himself spent two years chasing goals for Hertha. As Managing Director Sport, Bobic had formed a top team from the Eintracht Frankfurt elevator team, which he led from a relegation candidate to the DFB Cup victory and the semi-finals of the Europa League. In addition, he had a reputation for making stars out of unknown players: Luka Jovic, Filip Kostic, Ante Rebic and Sébastien Haller became superstars in Frankfurt, who were hunted down by top European clubs. At the notoriously troubled Hertha, Bobic should perform the same miracle. The signs were good, the investor Lars Windhorst, who has since been fired, wanted to invest a lot of money in the club, converting Hertha into the “Big City Club”.
18th Bundesliga matchday
Hertha can no longer win against Union – and throws sports director Fredi Bobic out
But the club failed terrifically, which also had to do with many of Bobic’s decisions. Fan favorite and club icon Pal Dardai was fired after just a few months, Bobic installed Tayfun Korkut as the new coach, but he was also unable to initiate a change. Korkut achieved two wins in 14 games, only Michael Skibbe had a worse point average than Korkut in the past 25 years, but he had to go after four games and zero points. Bobic was accused of hanging on to the coach for too long before sacking him in March 2022 after nine games without a win.
Felix Magath saved the club in the relegation and relegation in the games against HSV. And Sandro Schwarz, Bobic’s dream solution for the coaching post, didn’t manage to breathe new life into the team either, scoring only 14 points from 18 games. It remains to be seen how Black will continue under a new board, after all the coach has the support of his players. “It’s no secret that he’s a great fit for us. He’s missing the points just like us,” said captain Marco Richter on Saturday after the bankruptcy against Union Berlin. “Hopefully we will continue on our common path.”
Fredi Bobic missed the newcomers
But Bobic must also be accused of having made devastating decisions in the qualitative occupation of the squad, a development of the squad was hardly recognizable in the almost two years. With Matheus Cunha, Bobic let perhaps the most dangerous and talented attacker move to Spain and practically every new signing flopped: talent Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, Dong-jun Lae, Ishaik Belfodil and Fredrik Björlan were all signed under Bobic – and sold again after one season. Storm hope Wilfried Kanga has also turned out to be a flop so far, scoring only two goals in 17 appearances, other hopefuls such as Myziane Maolida or Stefan Jovetic shine above all with a bulging injury record and have never met expectations on the pitch.
Although Bobic bears the main responsibility for the new signings, but not for the financial situation, which considerably restricted the Managing Director Sport in his work. Instead of sitting on a pile of money, Bobic was forced to save in Berlin. In the past three seasons alone, the club made a loss of 210 million euros, this fall the repayment of a bond of 40 million euros is still due. In the past season, which was still shaped by Corona, Hertha lost 78 million euros – a sad peak value in the Bundesliga. In the current balance sheet, Hertha has, according to a “rbb“-Report 80.8 million euros in debt – with equity of 29.5 million euros. The hopes in Berlin are currently pinned on the American investor 777 Partners, who wants to take over Lars Windhorst’s shares and could flush new money into the coffers .
However, the replacement of the President last year could be regarded as a perhaps decisive criterion. Bobic’s favorite, Frank Steffel, lost out to the members, who elected Kay Bernstein to office instead. The entrepreneur and former ultra, who, as the founder of the ultra group Herlekins Berlin, has also been banned from stadiums several times, last clashed with his sporting director in December. After it became known that Fredi Bobic was considered a possible successor to Oliver Bierhoff at the DFB, Bernstein commented on the reports at “table football” with a succinct “Travellers shouldn’t be stopped” – the tablecloth between the two already seemed cut at this point, because a fight to keep the sporting boss certainly looks different. Bobic himself had repeatedly emphasized at the time how much he liked in the capital.”I only think of Hertha BSC, I live in the here and now. The boys, the coaching team – I’ve grown fond of them,” said Bobic at the time.
So maybe Andreas Neuendorf will follow Bobic and it’s another heavy slap in the manager’s face to say goodbye. Neuendorf was once an assistant coach at Hertha – until he was sacked by Bobic in November 2021. The fact that the culprit for the misery in Berlin is found in management and not on the coaching bench gives a deep insight into the dissatisfaction of the presidency. But Bobic’s dream solution, Schwarz, now has to fear for his job, because if the about-face doesn’t happen quickly, this part of Bobic’s agenda will also quickly become part of Berlin’s history.
Sources: table footballdpa, transfermarkt.de, sports show