Hertha BSC loses money and wins against Cologne – Sport

The mood is still nowhere to look back on the year. But it doesn’t help, not even at Hertha.

The general meeting was held on Sunday in the windowless, unheated Hall 22 of the Berlin Exhibition Center, and it actually gave cause for sadness: the key financial figures that were discussed were oppressive. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was quite relaxed. How it is when the ball rolled into the opponent’s goal the night before and a win was to be celebrated like against 1. FC Köln (2-0).

When they last met in the same place at the end of June, the mood was far more tense. Werner Gegenbauer resigned after 14 years as President; the Hertha establishment sent ex-politician Frank Steffel into the running, a candidate who was committed to continuity. And the establishment lost. A child from the east curve won: Kay Bernstein, 42, formerly Ultra, has been a marketing entrepreneur for years.

Then in late summer: the scandal surrounding investor Lars Windhorst, who got on board in 2019 and pumped an amount into the club – 374 million euros – without which Hertha might have disappeared. The money is, as they say in Berlin, “vaplempat” or “vapulvert”. Above all, however, the relationship with Windhorst is shattered.

Fresh capital would be very welcome in Berlin’s Westend

At the end of September, Windhorst was accused of having sent a security company into action against ex-President Gegenbauer in a lawsuit in Israel. the Financial Times reported that the trial files showed that Windhorst had tried to get rid of Gegenbauer using intelligence methods. Windhorst denies this account. But he responded by offering Hertha to buy back the shares he had acquired in the professional department since the summer of 2019. Hertha declined, also because she has no funds for it – nothing is known of other interested parties so far. Fresh capital would of course be very welcome in Berlin’s Westend. Because the danger of Hertha getting caught up in the debt trap is so real that a member called excitedly into the microphone on Sunday that Hertha would be crushed under interest payments in the foreseeable future if countermeasures were not taken immediately. The new managing director Thomas E. Herrich assured: “Nothing like a house of cards will collapse here.”

Despite transfer income of 46.8 million euros, Hertha ended the past season with a minus of almost 80 million euros; the losses of the last three years add up to 211.3 million euros. Equity fell to almost 30 million euros as of June 30, 2022, compared to 110 million euros in the previous year. Personnel costs, in turn, rose to around 100 million euros. For comparison: Saturday’s opponent Cologne does not even come up to half. At EUR 80.8 million, Hertha’s debt level is higher than equity (EUR 29.5 million). In addition, a 40 million euro bond with a generous 6.5 percent interest must be repaid in November 2023.

Hertha could issue a new bond to replace the old one with the proceeds and is considering doing so. Managing Director Herrich emphasized that one is “in good talks” with possible partners and that various options are being examined. But: “We have to tighten our belts.” Especially since the annual licensing procedure for the next season at the DFL is due next spring. A negative equity on the balance sheet would be a no-go. “We have to consider all financing options, be it equity or debt,” said Herrich.

“The boys are through. I was the only one who was relatively fit,” says Cologne coach Baumgart

This is also unfortunate in that Hertha is now making a better impression under the coach Sandro Schwarz, who was appointed in the summer, than in many, many phases of recent years. But the best sources of revenue in professional football are the professionals. Only: “You first need a market for that,” said manager Fredi Bobic, and then “also players who are absolutely wanted”. In other words: the demand for Hertha professionals is manageable. At the same time, Hertha cannot afford to lose quality: “We must not sell out,” said Bobic. High-quality additions are certainly not included. The focus is therefore more than ever on the promotion of their own junior staff – be it to “monetize” them, as President Bernstein said, or to integrate them into the first team.

The game against Cologne also showed that Hertha would look good with a few drops of quality. A 2-0 reads sovereign, but a few qualifications were allowed. Hertha’s victory could have been better, especially in the final phase goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe made good saves. But Cologne was clearly an exhausted opponent. “The boys are through. I was the only one who was relatively fit,” said Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart. And then there was the incident that the Rhinelanders broke their own necks by letting “three giants” lie in the first half, as Baumgart called Cologne’s really exuberantly good chances.

Sargis Adamyan stood out. He took the opportunity to submit a convincing application before the closing date for annual reviews. His colleague Linton Maina had prevailed on the right and saw Adamyan completely free in the six-yard box. Cologne’s coach had already seen what happened then: “When I Striker was,” Baumgart said. Adamyan hit the ball with the inside of his heel bone, the ball then drew an unlikely parabola and flew in a high arc onto the crossbar. “I thought that couldn’t be,” Adamyan later said.

Center forward Wilfried Kanga headed the Berlin lead in the ninth minute. Shortly after the break it was Marco Richter who extended the lead to 2:0 (54th). After a sharp cross from Dodi Lukébakio from the baseline, Schwäbe could only fend off the ball with his foot in the middle – Richter dusted it off.

In the new year, after the World Cup break, Hertha will continue to crawl around in the bottom third of the table. But the victory was important above all as a sign of processing the recent last-second bankruptcy at VfB Stuttgart (1: 2) – if only to caress the Hertha soul that was last processed with the wire brush. “It was a mood lift that was important for us,” said manager Fredi Bobic.

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