Hertha Berlin turmoil continues as sporting director leaves

February 1, 2022 GMT
File---File picture shows Hertha's sporting director Arne Friedrich during an interview before the match in Stuttgart, Germany, Dec.5, 2022. (Tom Weller/dpa via AP)
File---File picture shows Hertha's sporting director Arne Friedrich during an interview before the match in Stuttgart, Germany, Dec.5, 2022. (Tom Weller/dpa via AP)
File---File picture shows Hertha's sporting director Arne Friedrich during an interview before the match in Stuttgart, Germany, Dec.5, 2022. (Tom Weller/dpa via AP)
File---File picture shows Hertha's sporting director Arne Friedrich during an interview before the match in Stuttgart, Germany, Dec.5, 2022. (Tom Weller/dpa via AP)
File---File picture shows Hertha's sporting director Arne Friedrich during an interview before the match in Stuttgart, Germany, Dec.5, 2022. (Tom Weller/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Hertha Berlin just can’t get any peace and quiet.

Sporting director Arne Friedrich is leaving at the end of the season, a further blow to the Bundesliga club’s hopes for stability after years of upheaval.

Hertha said on Tuesday the 42-year-old Friedrich decided not to renew his expiring contract and will leave after 2 ½ seasons in the job.

“There have been many highs and lows, but the good moments stand out for me,” said Friedrich, who acknowledged there was still work to do. “It’s clear that the process hasn’t finished yet, but I’m sure that Hertha BSC has been set up well for the future with its new sporting leadership.”

Fredi Bobic, Hertha’s head of sport since June 2021, said it was a shame Friedrich decided not to continue.

“It is no secret that the USA is an important place for him and we are working together to see how he will be able to help us from there in the future,” Bobic said.

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Hertha also announced that Benjamin Weber, the head of its academy program, was leaving at the end of this month to concentrate on “new challenges.” Weber has been working for Hertha since 2003 and took over the club’s youth setup in July 2014.

Hertha has effectively been in a state of upheaval since millionaire backer Lars Windhorst first invested in the club in June 2019. Windhorst, who invested a total of 374 million euros (then $450 million), has watched as players, coaches and club directors have come and go.

Four players arrived during the winter transfer period, while Hertha saw five players leave.

The only consistency has been the flailing team’s continued struggle against relegation.

Instead of challenging for European qualification, Hertha is only three points above the Bundesliga’s relegation zone after failing to win its last four games.

Tayfun Korkut, who replaced the fired Pál Dárdai in November, is the team’s sixth coach since 2019.

Former Sky Germany CEO Carsten Schmidt lasted less than a year as managing director before leaving for personal reasons last October.

General manager Michael Preetz was dismissed the previous January, ending his 25-year association with the club.

Friedrich, a former Germany defender, was Hertha captain from 2004 during a playing spell from 2002-10 at the club. He returned after playing for Wolfsburg and Chicago Fire to take his first administrative role at Hertha as performance manager in November 2019. He subsequently became sporting director and a board member.

Windhorst thanked Friedrich on Twitter for his work.

“You made an important contribution to the reorganization of the club in a difficult environment. Your optimism, your happiness and your motivation have done us good,” Windhorst wrote.

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