Hertha Berlin’s 5-2 loss to Schalke in the big relegation crunch match on Friday was the straw that broke the camel’s back with the club announcing they have sacked coach Sandro Schwarz and handed the task of saving their season to former trainer Pal Dardai.
The trouncing at the Veltins Arena saw Hertha replace the Königsblauen at the bottom of the table with just six games now remaining for the Alte Dame to save themselves from relegation.
On Friday club boss Benjamin Weber promised “a full analysis of the situation.” Everything, including whether to carry on with Schwarz, would be up for discussion. “We will head home and consider everything. No stone will be left unturned. The result was not good at all. A real punch in the face.”
Schwarz himself seemed to realise the writing was on the wall after the final whistle saying, “As a head-coach, you have to be realistic,” he told German broadcaster DAZN. “We’re now in last-place. I fully understand the attitude of my superiors. That’s legitimate and the club has a responsibility to think about things.”
On Saturday the regeneration training was cancelled in place of a team meeting. Schwarz left the training headquarters with bags packed while the players left for training. On Sunday the inevitable news arrived that Schwarz had indeed been let go.
In a statement the club said: “Sandro and his coaching team invested a lot of work, energy and passion in the development of the team every day. We would like to thank him for this and wish him all the best for the future. After the frightening defeat in Gelsenkirchen, we used the last day and a half intensively to analyze and evaluate our situation, also together with Sandro.
“We have come to the conclusion that for our goal of ‘staying up’, to set a new stimulus for the team for the few remaining games.”.
Schwarz becomes the ninth Bundesliga trainer to be fired this season, but there has to be a lot of sympathy for the former Mainz coach. The squad provided for him by former sporting director Fredi Bobic was not up to scratch and hardly an upgrade on the one that narrowly kept their Bundesliga place last season via the play-offs.
With just six games left, it is very late in the season to turn things around and the move to bring in Dardai (yet again) smacks of desperation. But then these are desperate times at the Olympiastadion.