28 September 2009
Last season, Lucien Farve guided Hertha Berlin to fourth in the Bundesliga and into the Europa League. Monday, Farve was shown the door at after losing six on the trot, seeing Hertha Berlin at the foot of the Bundesliga table.
Credit should be given to Lucien Farve; he was able to guide Hertha from consecutive tenth place finishes into a position where they could have won last season's Bundesliga title, settling for fourth place. But there are plenty of reasons Hertha Berlin are looking for a new manager right now.
* Farve's inability to get along with top names. When Farve was unable to get along with Marko Pantelic and Josip Simunic, or any real top talent for that matter, it spelled trouble in the summer. Pantelic went to Ajax, while Simunic went to Hoffenheim. He had to have total control of everything in training and in the dressing room. It was his way or the highway...it proved in the end Farve was the one seeing the Autobahn.
* No true leadership in the dressing room. The players on this club are so diverse, there is no true sense of leadership in the dressing room. When captain Arne Friedrich is saying "I can't be the leader of the team in which half the people don't understand a word of my language, and I don't understand them either", there are massive problems within the players at the club. The captain should never say that. Yes, it's a more international club game than ever before. Yes, there should be some common ground in language in the dressing room. However, right now it's apparent the players at Hertha Berlin are more in it for themselves than for the club. That's just a recipe for disaster...and relegation. At least learn enough of the native tongue to get around.
* Ownership without money. When you sell Simunic for six million pounds and spend less than 1.25 million on your biggest signing in Adrian Ramos, you've got problems. Simply put, Hertha Berlin is a club that doesn't have loads of money at their disposal. For a club in the capital of Germany, that's frightening. Look at Rome (though AS Roma is struggling right now), London (two Champions League clubs, one more in the Europa League), Paris (PSG is a steady League Un side), Moscow (of late has come on with one club in Europe on a yearly basis), and Madrid (Real Madrid...say no more); all capital cities with European football pedigree. The board of Hertha have too many questions to ask with regards to how much money they have to invest in the club. For a club who have played in the Bundesliga for over a decade, and been in Europe now twice, money issues should not be a problem.
* The inability to sign Andriy Voronin from Liverpool. He was their heart and soul up front and his goals have been sorely missed. Again, that goes to the lack of money available. What's scarier is that Liverpool only asked five million. They couldn't afford the transfer fee and his wages, what does that tell you?
* Last season was more about luck than talent. Last season, Hertha Berlin rode their luck more often than not to get results, and they rode that luck well. Hertha lost nine games and still finished fourth. Hamburg in fifth lost eleven, Borussia Dortmund finished six and had fourteen draws. Hoffenheim finished seven and had ten draws alongside their nine losses. Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich each had seven losses last season and Stuttgart had eight of their own. That's how tight it was at the top, and how even the top of the Bundesliga was. Take away the key pieces that saw them finish fourth with the luck they had, you have the situation Hertha Berlin are in now.
What's sadder for Farve is that he was playing his strongest eleven when Hertha played Hoffenheim on Sunday. What's even more frightening is they have to travel away Thursday in the Europa League to face Sporting Lisbon. If that wasn't bad enough, Hamburg comes to the Olympiastadion on Sunday. Expect the fans to demand answers, and to be just a little more hostile than normal. The team cannot hide behind Farve anymore, and you can't expect the U23 coach to walk into this mess and be a miracle worker.