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Hertha Berlin hires Labbadia as 4th coach of the season

By CIARÁN FAHEY

AP Sports Writer

BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin hired Bruno Labbadia as the club’s fourth coach of the season on Thursday.

Labbadia was taking over immediately from Alexander Nouri, who was in charge for four games after Jürgen Klinsmann surprisingly left the club.

Klinsmann was appointed amid much fanfare on Nov. 27, but the former Germany and United States coach left Hertha in chaos in February when he quit after nine Bundesliga games.

Former youth coach Ante Covic was the first-time head coach from the start of the season.

The 54-year-old Labbadia, who previously coached Wolfsburg, Stuttgart, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, Greuther Fürth and Darmstadt, had been out of work since leaving Wolfsburg at the end of last season.

Hertha said it had been looking for a new coach to take over at the end of this season, but it brought the engagement forward while the league was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We decided to take this chance to prepare the team for a possible continuation of the season over the next few weeks and to make our decision on the coaching position,” Hertha general manager Michael Preetz said. “It is now clear who will train the team in the coming season.”

Hertha was reportedly pushing for former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac to return, but again he turned the club down after declining to take over from Covic in November.

Nouri had been Klinsmann’s assistant and he was unable to stabilize the team after taking over. Defensive lapses led to a 5-0 loss at home to Cologne, then to Hertha conceding three goals in one half against Fortuna Düsseldorf, and two goals in the first six minutes against Werder Bremen.

The season has gone far from plan after new backer Lars Windhorst invested $250 million with the aim of establishing Hertha as a Bundesliga heavyweight.

With nine games of the season remaining, Hertha is six points above the relegation zone in the 18-team division. The league is suspended through at least April and it is unclear when or if it will resume.

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Updated April 9, 2020

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