Struggling Hertha brings Dárdai back for 3rd stint as coach
BERLIN (AP) — Hertha Berlin is bringing Pál Dárdai back for a third stint as coach after firing Sandro Schwarz in a bid to escape relegation.
The Bundesliga club said Sunday that the 47-year-old Dárdai will take over for the rest of season.
He has six games to save Hertha from demotion.
“Pál has already twice shown that he can stabilize a team with his clear way and manner, and that he can lead it out of such situations. We are convinced of that,” Hertha sporting director Benjamin Weber said.
Hertha has been flirting with relegation every season since investor Lars Windhorst first backed the club in 2019.
On Friday, however, the team dropped to last in the Bundesliga with a 5-2 loss at fellow struggler Schalke, which was previously bottom. It stretched Hertha’s run without a victory to six games.
“We used the last one and a half days after this shocking loss in Gelsenkirchen to analyze and judge our situation, also with Sandro. We came to the decision to give the team a new impetus for the few remaining games toward our goal of staying in the league,” Weber said.
Hertha also fired assistant coaches Volkan Bulut and Daniel Fischer.
The next six games – against Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Bochum and Wolfsburg – will need drastic improvement if Hertha is to avoid another drop to the second division following its last demotion in 2012.
The club had maintained its faith in Schwarz as coach even as the team struggled to transfer reported good work in training to competitive games. Schwarz remained in charge when Hertha fired Fredi Bobic as head of sport in January.
It was Bobic who appointed Schwarz, the former Dynamo Moscow and Mainz coach, as Hertha coach last summer. Bobic also fired Dárdai in November 2021 when Hertha was 14th in the 18-team division.
As a Hertha player, Dárdai made a club-record 286 Bundesliga appearances.
“Everyone knows my relationship with Hertha BSC so I didn’t have to think twice when I got the call," Dárdai said.
In his first stint in charge from February 2015 through the 2018-19 season, Dárdai mostly led Hertha to comfortable mid-table finishes. But he was dismissed at the time by then-general manager Michael Preetz, who was targeting European qualification as Hertha's ambition grew following Windhorst’s investment.
Those ambitions were never realized as Hertha instead became a regular relegation candidate amid turmoil on and off the field. Windhorst sold his stake to American backers 777 Partners in March.
“There are still six games left, maybe two more,” Dárdai said, referring to the relegation-promotion playoff against the club that finishes third in the second division. "I will do everything with the team to ensure that Hertha BSC stays in the Bundesliga. It won’t be an easy task, but I’m looking forward to it.”
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