It is no exaggeration to suggest that Hertha Berlin could be the most mismanaged club in the recent history of top-flight European football.
In the summer of 2019, German businessman Lars Windhorst became investor in the team, promising Champions League qualification within the short to medium-term future.
Just under three years and €375 million of his money later as of the most recent transfer window,(a substantial amount for Germany) Hertha and Windhorst have three Bundesliga seasons of relegation battles and a club in complete disarray to show for it.
During Windhorst’s first season with the club, Hertha did end up in a mid-table position.
Yet this was after an uptick form at the end of that term. Then in 2020/21, they narrowly avoided the drop into Bundesliga 2.
“The Old Lady,” as Hertha is affectionately called, currently finds itself second from bottom in the league table, with five games remaining as of this writing.
Their next three opponents are direct competitors for survival. In other words, there is still everything for them to play for.
Yet instead of a display of unity, Windhorst and the club’s leadership have engaged in a public feud as of late, with the investor demanding the president’s resignation.
To make matters even worse, the team is coming off of a recent humiliating 4-1 home defeat at the against much less wealthy, but recently far more successful crosstown rivals Union Berlin.
After the match Hertha fans humiliated their own players, by making them take off the “sacred” club jerseys.
Amid another lackluster season, the club first sacked coach Pál Dárdai and later his successor Tayfun Korkut.
Now they have brought Felix Magath out of quasi-retirement, to help them avoid relegation.
The now 68-year-old former Hamburger SV star player went on to coach Bayern Munich and sensationally VfL Wolfsburg to Bundesliga glory in the opening decade of the millennium.
He has recently been quoted as saying that his current job is the most difficult of his career.
That quote alone speaks volumes about what kind of a situation Windhorst and the Hertha board have brought the club into.
Simply burning hundreds of millions of Euros on transfers does not come close to guaranteeing that a team will preform on the pitch.
Players need chemistry to function together and they need time to achieve that chemistry.
As other German clubs much smaller in size and stature, (such as SC Freiburg or indeed Union) show every week, there are much more important things than money alone in the Beautiful Game today.
A club not only needs mere cash, but they need a front office that understands how to use whatever funds are available wisely. More importantly, they need a philosophy and a coach who embodies that philosophy.
Whether or not Hertha stays up this season and regardless of how much longer Mr. Windhorst stays with them, the paragraph above still sums up the moral of the story.
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