Berlin – Bruno Labbadia has already achieved what Hertha BSC also wants from him as the new head coach: namely, to form a team for the Europa League within a very short time from a relegation candidate of the Bundesliga.
As the successor to the hapless Alexander Nouri, Labbadia should quickly straighten Berliners up and lead them to a successful future. The 54-year-old will be on the training ground for the first time on Easter Monday – as the fourth head coach of Hertha alone this season.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us,” said Labbadia. The Berliners are already the tenth club for which the former striker works in the highest German league, either as a player or as a coach. No one else has such a record. “With his idea of offensive football, his meticulousness, and his ambition, he fits perfectly with Hertha BSC and our goals,” said Managing Director Michael Preetz. Labbadia has already shown that “he can develop teams and in the next step lead to upper table regions”.
Just like in Wolfsburg. He brought VfL to international business at his last station in just over 15 months as a fast relegation. The ex-professional formed a strong unit from an insecure and lethargic team. Only with the head of sports Jorg Schmadtke, he did not get along, so he did not extend and expire his expiring contract with VfL a year ago. He also knows his way around as a rescuer, saved VfB Stuttgart from going into the second division in 2011 and four years later it was enough with Hamburger SV.
So now Hertha. The trainer wear at the self-proclaimed “Big City Club” is at least as high as the demands. Ante Covic was allowed to try at the beginning of the season, but had to leave at the end of November 2019 and was replaced by former national coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The 1990 world champion threw in less than three months. His appearance caused a lot of trouble in the end. After Klinsmann’s abrupt resignation with lots of noise due to allegedly lacking backing in the club, his assistant Nouri became the new boss. This has also ended since Thursday.
«Hertha BSC is an association with a clear, ambitious plan for the future. We are very keen to be part of this plan and the further development of Hertha, »said Labbadia. He shouldn’t have taken over until the summer, but the apparent lack of confidence in Nouri and the current forced break until at least April 30, when Preetz described the coronavirus pandemic as “a kind of early summer break””. That is why the decision was made to “prefer our decision on the coaching position”.
Hertha did not specify a contract term, but according to media reports, Labbadia will initially remain until summer 2022. He was already considered a possible Covic successor. According to reports, however, the desired solution would have been Niko Kovac. Hertha had made several intensive efforts to serve the former Bayern coach, but the 48-year-old could not be convinced of a commitment in his hometown.
Labbadia wants to “prepare Berliners as best as possible for the day when football will be played again”. His mission begins in the basement. Again. With 28 points from 25 matches, the club is in 13th place and is only six points ahead of the relegation zone. Too little. With millions of investors from entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, there should be successful football again as quickly as possible in the Olympic Stadium. And that also internationally.
The first attempts under the now no longer undisputed Preetz as a maker failed, as shown not least by the high fluctuation in coaches. Now a whole new group can try again. Nouri’s assistant Markus Feldhoff and Werner Leuthard also have to go, Labbadia brings along with his long-time confidant Eddy Sozer also Olaf Janssen as assistant coach to the Spree.