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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Felix Magath at Hertha BSC: time for horror stories – sport

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If one relies solely on the clichés circulating about Felix Magath, it is fair to say that there is hardly a setting that would suit him better than the home of Hertha BSC. Magath, 68, was unveiled as Hertha’s new manager on Monday, and this is at home where a comparatively tough tone must have prevailed between 1952 and 1990: at the site of the British Army’s headquarters on the grounds of Berlin. That fits because, according to tradition, the training grounds at Felix Magath were mostly transformed into a parade ground.

Magath. Felix Magat. There were Hertha fans who went to bed with the news on Sunday night and checked their cell phones on Monday morning to see if they had really dreamed it all. Only: it was true. The man with the tea bag, who in the first places of activity liked to be alone and military handbook ruled, should save Hertha from relegation. “Europe’s last dictator”, ex-pro Bachirou Salou once called him after surviving a Magath government at Eintracht Frankfurt. A phrase that perhaps he would not say in light of the sad present.

Still, the image has lived on, and Magath is obviously old enough not to be bothered by it anymore. Fredi Bobic, the Hertha manager, certainly not. “We need a coach who demands discipline and who is known to have a clear and firm hand in dealing with the players,” Bobic said. “Discipline is part of the sport, I can’t change that. I did not invent it,” said Magath, who apparently caused happy faces at least in his home in Munich: “My wife and my children pushed me to go for a walk in Berlin. “

It remains a mystery how the Hertha players reacted when they found out about Magath’s engagement.

The fact that he has a lot to offer as a coach speaks for Magath. He won two championships with FC Bayern and one championship with VfL Wolfsburg; Furthermore, he “succeeded in the Bundesliga with six or seven teams” to secure his place in the Bundesliga. “That’s why I see the task at Hertha as something tailor-made for me,” said Magath.

That could be true. And it provoked divided reactions in the part of the capital that leaned towards Hertha. Not a few remembered the days of 2012 when Hertha hired another old master as a supposed savior and failed: Otto Rehhagel, then in his 70s, older than Magath is today. “Hegel commented somewhere that all great events and people in world history happen twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: the first time as a tragedy, the other time as a farce,” Karl once said Marx.

Felix Magath at Hertha BSC: In 1984, Felix Magath (left) no longer seems convinced by Ernst Happel's directives.  HSV's heyday was coming to an end, there was a crisis in the team and two years later Magath, who had won the European Cup in 1983, put an end to his professional career.

In 1984, Felix Magath (left) no longer seems convinced by Ernst Happel’s directives. HSV’s heyday was coming to an end, there was a crisis in the team and two years later Magath, who had won the European Cup in 1983, put an end to his professional career.

(Photo: Sven Simon/Imago)

On the other hand, there are people from Hertha who think that the only way to get to safety is through authoritarianism. What do you get? A very confident coach. “Those who don’t think I’m the right choice shouldn’t just criticize, but make their own suggestion as to who should be able to solve this difficult task in the German Bundesliga,” said Magath, earning silence in the press room when He added: “I’d like to ask for feedback.”

It remained a mystery how the Hertha players reacted when they learned of Magath’s engagement. He told the players: “Look at your cell phones. You always do it anyway,” Bobic said of his instructions to the pros after he told them Sunday morning that Tayfun Korkut had been fired as coach. .

Only one player in the Hertha squad knows Magath first-hand: Peter Pekarik

Even Hertha’s youngest pros should know some horror stories about Magath; the collections of quotations are full of relevant statements about the real or supposed harsh regime that Magath leads. “Lake Michigan is so big that it’s an obvious training option,” he once said on the sidelines of a trip to the United States with FC Bayern in the United States: the lake is twice the size of the state of Brandenburg. Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfán only stayed at Schalke because Magath left at some point: “I would rather have thrown stones and dug dirt in Peru than played with Mr. Magath.” The reason? “Those who train with Magath expect to die,” former manager Rainer Calmund once reported.

Only one player in Hertha’s current squad knows Magath first-hand: right-back Peter Pekarik left Wolfsburg for Berlin in August 2012. “I think one or another player has asked him how well things are going to be. in the next few days,” said Magath. After all, he doesn’t have to have a mounded hill like he once did in Wolfsburg (keyword: “Mount Magath”). Hertha have a so-called speed hill on the site, which is great for chasing down players, including young players who obviously need to be reminded that being a professional footballer takes work. Only: if you find the right connection with young people? Yes Magath updated is?

Bobic has no doubts about it. Magath “never turned away from the window”, despite his nearly ten-year absence from Bundesliga business; The last time he coached a team was almost five years ago, in China. “I can’t imagine that being essential to my job,” Magath said, adding that one could “further develop in England or China as well”, “that just broadens the horizon”.

At Fulham FC, for example, where he had to go to the bottom of the table in 2014, he met a Scottish professional named Mark Fotheringham, who will now assist him as assistant manager and who, at 38, is closer to the current generation. of players he is Fotheringham worked as an assistant at Karlsruher SC and FC Ingolstadt, speaks perfect German, Magath emphasized, before joking about his employee’s Scottish accent: “At most, it could be problematic with English.” If this becomes the biggest problem in the coming weeks, Hertha would be in for a big help.

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