All eyes were on the new head coach of Hertha BSC: Just before 1pm CET, Felix Magath entered the press conference room and took his seat at the podium alongside director of sport Fredi Bobic. “This is all and only about Hertha BSC, not myself or Fredi. It’s about a club which needs support from every single person. We all need to work together to get out of this tricky situation.” Our new head coach made no secret of what the next few weeks will be all about for himself and the squad. Bobic took the time to officially welcome the 68-year-old to the club: “We needed a coach with a lot of experience, a strong personality, and a clear and tough way of doing things – that’s exactly what Felix Magath stands for. For that reason, I’m happy and excited that he has agreed to take on this challenge.” Speaking in their press conference for nearly 40 minutes, herthabsc.com has all the latest from both the new head coach and the director of sport.
Felix Magath and Fredi Bobic on...
... the start for our new head coach:
Fredi Bobic: I’m not going to beat around the bush here, we know what situation the club is in. We’re 17th in the league, and we have eight, maybe ten games to go. After the match in Mönchengladbach, we analysed our situation and came to the decision that we needed a coach with a lot of experience, a strong personality, and a clear and tough way of doing things – that’s exactly what Felix Magath stands for. For that reason, I’m happy and excited that he has agreed to take on this challenge and will put the full extent of his drive into leading us to the success we need to stay in the Bundesliga. Survival is the only goal and nothing else counts anymore. We’ll take this journey on together!
Felix Magath: This is all and only about Hertha BSC, not myself or Fredi. It’s about a club which needs support from every single person. We all need to work together to get out of this tricky situation. We will only be successful if we put in a joint effort with maximum concentration and focus on the basics. We want to be at least one or two places higher in the table at the end of these eight games. I’ve never done anything in my life other than football; I can’t do anything else anymore. I love this game. I think I've proved before that I can adapt to different situations. There is something in the job I have to do here which suits me. I want to help Hertha BSC and keep the club in the league!
... reasons for signing Felix Magath:
Fredi Bobic: Myself and Felix have crossed paths many a time; we’ve known each other for years. I have a huge amount of respect for what he has achieved as both a player and coach. I’ve always seen his reputation as a tough coach differently: there are many things in football which can be broken down into just two things; work and a culture of performance. It’s great to be a professional football, but you have to work hard for it and have discipline. There are not many coaches who would have the courage to take over a club in a situation like ours. Personally, I have to make decisions like that and know how doing something will affect the squad – and for me, Felix Magath is the perfect person to get this difficult job sorted.
... the first things on the to-do list:
Felix Magath: I first need to get together with everyone – I need to see them, listen to them, smell them and understand them. Then I’ll come to my decisions and let them know what I think we need to work on. I could see the desire and passion of the players in Mönchengladbach, but they lacked coordination, so I need to get to know the lads and then also inform them of what I think our first points of action are. Saturday’s match against Hoffenheim will be my first game in charge, and that’s what I’m completely focusing on at the moment. We want to pick up some points at home and end our winless streak, and we’ll be concentrating fully on working towards that goal. I knew what sort of a squad I would inherit by coming here, and I think we’ll be able to retain our place in the division with this group.
... getting to know the team and the coaching staff:
Felix Magath: I’d have preferred to have told the lads about the appointment myself, but they were given Monday off and I didn’t think there was any point in changing their schedule, so I’ll introduce myself to them on Tuesday. Mark Fotheringham will join the club as an assistant coach – I wanted to make sure we had somebody joining us who is a bit younger than I am (grins). Mark comes from Scotland and speaks perfect German, and I worked together with him at Fulham.
... coaching methods and discipline:
Felix Magath: I’m going to take some time to get familiar with the training ground, first of all. I’ve always placed great importance on knowing what infrastructure there is so that I can utilise the facilities we have at our disposal to maximum effect – even if that includes a hill or a staircase (grins). It’s always about training the players as best as we can and preparing them for matches. Discipline is an equally-important aspect of sport, especially in team sport. That’s something which I’ve had to learn when I was a player, and now I’m asking my players here at Hertha BSC to be disciplined. I’m not doing it for me. My most treasured players will be those who make a great effort to help out in this club’s quest to stay in the Bundesliga.