Berlin (AFP) – Bruno Labbadia will succeed Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach of Hertha Berlin, the Bundesliga club announced Thursday, confirming earlier reports in the German media.
“My team and I are really looking forward to this challenge. Hertha is a club with a clear, ambitious plan for the future,” said Labbadia in a statement on the club’s website.
According to newspaper Bild and football magazine Kicker, 52-year-old Labbadia will sign a contract until 2022 to oversee preparations should the German league resume next month after being halted on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s going to be hard work. We will begin on Monday under the current restrictions and will prepare as best we can for the day when football resumes,” said the new coach.
“With Bruno, we have someone who knows the Bundesliga well from his many years as a player and a coach and has shown that he can stabilise teams and lead them back up the table,” sporting director Michael Preetz said.
The former Wolfsburg, Stuttgart and Hamburg coach will be the fourth different person to occupy the Hertha dugout this season, and will charged with saving a miserable season for the capital city club.
Hertha, who are backed by a wealthy investor, are 13th in the table, six points from the relegation places with nine games left.
Labbadia has recent experience of avoiding relegation having kept Wolfsburg up in 2017-18 before guiding them to a Europa League place the following season.
Like most of the top-flight clubs, Hertha returned to training this week for the first time since the competition was stopped because of the virus.
However, Hertha’s caretaker coach Alexander Nouri was not involved as he remained with his family in Bremen.
Nouri was named in a caretaker capacity in mid-February when Klinsmann, a former USA and Germany head coach, walked out after just 76 days in charge.
The former Bayern Munich and Tottenham star was brought in as a short-term solution in November after Hertha made a disastrous start to the season under former coach Ante Covic.
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