It’s back to the future for Hertha Berlin, a Bundesliga club tormented by its own ambition as it fails to deliver after huge investments and finds itself overshadowed by crosstown rival Union Berlin.
The club re-hired former coach Pal Dardai on Monday to shake up the team after another lacklustre start to the season.
Dardai has been contracted as head coach until 2022, replacing Bruno Labbadia, who was sacked the day before.
“Pal has Hertha Berlin in his blood and we are absolutely convinced that his clear manner will give the team the necessary new impetus,” Hertha chief executive Carsten Schmidt said.
Hertha is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga, two points above the relegation zone after winning only one of its last eight games.
Dardai’s return was made possible following the dismissal on Sunday of general manager Michael Preetz, who opted not to keep him on as coach at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Dardai had been in charge since February 2015 and his team was solid but unspectacular. Hertha needs stability at this stage.
As a Hertha player, Dardai made a club-record 286 Bundesliga appearances.
“I don’t need to tell anyone what Hertha means to me,” said Dardai, who had been in charge of Hertha’s under-16s.
“There was no question that I would help out in this situation.”
It is just under a year since investor Lars Windhorst said Hertha should be mixing with the best in Germany and qualifying for European competition.
The financier has pledged 374 million euros ($A588 million) to Hertha altogether.
Hertha’s struggles have been amplified by Union’s success with much less means. Union was expected to struggle in its second season in the Bundesliga, but it is currently eighth.