Klinsmann resigns as Hertha coach after 9 Bundesliga games




  • In Sports/Soccer
  • 2020-02-11 12:48:26Z
  • By CIAR�?N FAHEY (AP Sports Writer)

BERLIN (AP) -- Jurgen Klinsmann surprisingly resigned as coach of Hertha Berlin on Tuesday after only nine Bundesliga games.

The former Germany and United States coach said in a statement on Facebook that he ''cannot live up to my potential as coach and therefore cannot live up to my responsibility'' without the trust from people at the club.

''That's why, after long thought, I came to the conclusion to make my position as coach of Hertha available and return to my original long-term task as a supervisory board member,'' Klinsmann wrote.

Much was expected of Klinsmann when he was appointed coach on Nov. 27, helped by an extensive backroom staff. He was supposed to deliver on the promise provided by a $250 million investment from new backer Lars Windhorst and lead Hertha up the standings toward the European qualification places. But the team is still fighting off relegation.

Hertha was in 15th place in the 18-team Bundesliga after losing four games, leading to Ante Covic's dismissal, and under Klinsmann it managed only three wins in nine league games.

The team is now in 14th place, six points above the relegation zone, following a 3-1 loss at home against Mainz on Saturday - four days after it was knocked out of the German Cup in extra time at Schalke.

Klinsmann called Hertha a ''sleeping giant.'' He was consulted on player signings as Hertha made its first splash on the transfer market following Windhorst's investment. Hertha signed Matheus Cunha from Leipzig, Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan, Santiago Ascacibar from Stuttgart and Lucas Tousart from Lyon, as its transfer spending in January reached an estimated 76 million euros ($83 million).

''We are surprised by this development this morning,'' Hertha general manager Michael Preetz said in a statement. ''Especially after the trustful cooperation regarding decisions over personnel in the winter transfer period, there was no sign of it. We will inform of further developments at the appropriate time.''

The club said assistant coach Alexander Nouri would lead the team for now.

The players were told of the decision on Tuesday morning.

''The coach came into the changing room. We thought it would be about the analysis of the last game. And then he told us,'' Hertha midfielder Marko Grujic said after training . ''We were completely surprised.''

Windhorst, who had brought Klinsmann to the club, had been given advance warning.

''I learned of the decision yesterday,'' Windhorst told German daily Bild. ''I very much regret this step from Jurgen Klinsmann.''

Klinsmann had a long association with Hertha through his father Siegfried, who was from Eberswalde near Berlin and was a fan, and his son Jonathan, who was a reserve goalkeeper for Hertha from 2017 until last year when he moved to Swiss club St. Gallen. Siegfried died in 2005.

As a player, Klinsmann enjoyed a glittering career as a prolific striker for clubs in Germany, Italy, France and England. He won the World Cup and European Championship. His coaching career began with Germany in 2004 and he had mixed fortunes coaching Bayern Munich before taking over the U.S. national team.

Klinsmann told news agency dpa on Monday that he was happy working with Windhorst.

''I met him for 10 minutes in a bank ... on the way to Tegel airport. We didn't know each other at the time,'' Klinsmann said. '' He told me, 'I need you at my side because I don't know the ropes in football. You tell me if I'm doing right or wrong.'''

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Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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