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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Felix Magath follows Tayfun Korkut: Hertha BSC tries with experience – sport

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Tayfun Korkut first had to dress warmly. When he finished the match in Mönchengladbach, he went to his place on the bench. He grabbed his anorak, which he’d gotten rid of at some point in the heat of the moment, put it on, and then disappeared into the hallway of the cabin at Borussia Park. It was, at least as coach of Hertha BSC, a goodbye forever.

On Sunday morning, almost exactly 14 hours after Bundesliga side Berlin’s 2-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hertha announced what had long been inevitable: after just 105 days in charge , Tayfun Korkut, 47, resigns from his position as chief. coach has been released, his assistant Ilija Aracic also has to go.

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And the Hertha players will also have to bundle up in future. On Sunday night, the club announced Korkut’s successor: 68-year-old Felix Magath will take charge of the team until the end of the season.

“Félix Magath’s resume speaks for itself,” said Hertha’s sporting director, Fredi Bobic, about the choice of the new coach, with whom he achieved at least one surprise. In Magath they have found someone who has immense experience and who has already shown that he can dominate such critical situations. Hertha is therefore relying on a model that worked once before, in 2004 under Hans Meyer, and once, in 2012 under Otto Rehhagel, went wrong.

Magath, who last worked as a coach at the Chinese club Shandong Luneng Taishan in 2017, is in a way the alternative to the attempt with Tayfun Korkut, which failed at the latest on Saturday with the defeat in Mönchengladbach. “I am responsible for the sporting situation,” Korkut said at the post-match press conference on Saturday night. And this situation is becoming increasingly disastrous for Hertha BSC. Due to the fifth loss in a row, the Berliners fell to 17th place in the table. In 2022, the team was still without a win after ten official matches, was eliminated in the cup and was the worst team in the second half of the season with only two points. In a total of 13 games, Korkut only had nine points with the team.

The performance and results of the nine games in the second half of the season were analyzed and then the decision was made to “make another change in the coaching position,” Hertha sporting director Fredi Bobic said on Sunday. Immediately after the match in Gladbach, he ruled out quick action. “We have to keep a cool head first,” he said when asked about the future of the hapless coach, whom he also continued to defend: “Tayfun Korkut really hits everything.”

Korkut’s failure is also Bobic’s failure

Bobic has long resisted the inevitable, because to admit that Korkut failed is also to admit that he, Bobic, was wrong. Korkut was his choice. And it was just one of many wrong decisions made by the sporting director in his ten-month tenure and which, as things stand at the moment, may result in the club’s seventh relegation in history.

When Bobic named Korkut as the successor to Hertha veteran Pal Dardai in late November, he provoked reactions ranging from astonishment to skepticism from those around the club. Korkut had been unemployed for three years since his departure from VfB Stuttgart and had achieved only modest success in his previous posts. But Bobic was convinced of his choice, he saw Korkut as the right manager to bring a difficult season to a reasonably accident-free end and then bring in a big-name manager for the club in the summer. This plan failed miserably.

Thirteen games, just nine points: The plan for Tayfun Korkut to succeed Pal Dardai has failed.Photo: dpa

The idea that Korkut could turn Bobic’s lopsided team into a team that is stable and also plays decent football has turned out to be presumptuous. When Dardai had to leave, Hertha were in 14th place. The gap to the direct relegation zone, where Hertha struck on Saturday, was five points. While the team rarely played exciting football with Dardai, they knew his strengths and were reasonably solid within themselves.

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Little of that remains. It is even more significant that in times of dire need, Korkut was forced to make a football U-turn from above. Going back to basics, that was the requirement against Gladbach, who was also floundering. “We had a good plan,” said striker Davie Selke, one of six newcomers to the starting eleven. “We wanted to stand up well, run high. We wanted to stress them out, fight hard for second balls.” But the plan didn’t work.

Before the match, Korkut had said that Hertha would definitely not park the bus in front of their own goal, but that is exactly what they did. He fielded eight defensive players and defended his team with five defenders. That’s exactly what Bobic always criticized Dardai for: his rabbit-footed attitude. And yet Hertha at Gladbach lacked defensive security. In the midfield, the Berliners just gasped behind, behind they always got into trouble. It only got better when Korkut corrected his lineup during the break and Suat Serdar came on for the usual erratic Santiago Ascacibar.

Hertha BSC is a master of the subjunctive

It was not Korkut’s only personal mistake. In the last few weeks he has been spectacularly wrong in some of his decisions. But that does not have it exclusively in Hertha. The increasingly likely decline would be the result of dramatic misjudgments at all levels. Hertha has long been a master of the subjunctive. Even after the defeat in Mönchengladbach, Korkut rated his team’s performance much more favorably than it had actually been.

The ever-increasing danger of relegation has sidelined Hertha’s sporting leadership for far too long. She believed that the team was too good and therefore Hertha had nothing to fear. Then came the sobering 1:4 in their own stadium against Eintracht Frankfurt and 0:2 against Gladbach, who were supposedly on equal terms.

The shock of reality that Hertha is currently suffering is now even more severe. Fredi Bobic hopes that the change of coach will make “everyone involved even more aware of the situation” and trusts “the positive effects of a new start”. Felix Magath should ensure the necessary sensitivity between the players. In a club press release, he was quoted as saying: “It is now important for everyone to focus fully on the remaining eight games.”


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