Goodbye Florida! Hertha BSC flies back to Berlin from the sunny south-east of the USA on Sunday. Eleven days of training camp at the IGM Academy in Bradenton before it starts again next Saturday at VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga. But who is Florida’s grand prize winner? There is only one answer: Sandro Schwarz! The coach is well on the way to becoming the new Jürgen Röber (69) in the blue and whites.
Even 26 years later, Hertha’s fans still revel in fond memories when they think of their “Jürgen”. In 1996 came in the second division. Promotion in 1997, relegation in 1998, Champions League in 1999 with a passionate team that fought and enchanted unforgettable hours in the Olympic Stadium. The secret was the fire that Röber, this bundle of energy, kindled in the players and fans.
Hertha BSC: The second camp is the real coach test
Röber was 43 years old when he came. Black came in the summer of 2022 – even at the age of 43. Mid-forties, there is experience and energy for a big task in the best mix. The first training camp in England in July 2022, all for free. New coach, new impulses, new esprit in the squad. The second training camp is the real test for a new coach. Everything already routine, everything already a bit worn down when working with the pros or teased the next level of ignition for a performance explosion out of the players?
Herthas Kempf: “Our coach exemplifies emotionality”
Eleven Days Florida provided the answer. Black made a real team out of this squad again. Central defender Marc Kempf puts it this way: “Our coach exemplifies emotionality and conveys a lust to throw himself into every ball. That’s how he started a flame.” The spirit of Bradenton was ever-present. Djanga Boetius enthuses: “It feels like family here.” It’s not just the smiling faces of the pros. You don’t win points with a good mood alone. “We as a team have now moved even closer together. The camp here was particularly good for the players who came to us later in the summer and weren’t in England. This team is willing to get better every day. Everyone is involved here,” says Schwarz.
Black: “This team is fighting against odds”
The results of the four friendlies (3:0, 7:1, 7:0, 2:2) are irrelevant. For the sharp analyst Schwarz, something else matters. 15 goals out of 19 were scored by strikers. “It was good that so many offensive players scored,” explains the coach. The declared goal has been achieved: the squad is more dangerous in front of goal again. Striker Wilfried Kanga is also blossoming even more now. In a real endurance test against Colombia’s champions FC Millonarios, they made up a 2-0 deficit and played 2-2. “This team can fight against resistance,” praises Schwarz’s morale.
The team was able to do that in the previous 15 games of the season, but they didn’t get enough points. 14 points, 15th place. That’s still the reality. But Black has raised hopes that there will soon be more wins. Also with manager Fredi Bobic: “For us, every game is a final. But we have a good feeling. We know exactly how brutal the Bundesliga is. We have to deliver now. I have grown fond of this team. It’s a great team spirit among the players.”
Black is the key to this new unity that Hertha’s fans have been missing for so long. For the first time there is a real, lived and not just proclaimed spirit of optimism, like back then under Jürgen Röber…
Read here more about Hertha BSC >>