Veteran Rehhagel to take over as Berlin coach

18 February 2012 05:47

Former Greece coach Otto Rehhagel is set to return to the Bundesliga after a 12-year hiatus to take charge of relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin, it was announced on Saturday.

The 73-year-old, who led Greece to the Euro 2004 title, is expected to arrive in the German capital on Sunday to take charge of Hertha, who last Sunday sacked Michael Skibbe as coach after five defeats.

"We are currently in a difficult situation and have come to the conclusion that we need an experienced coach like Rehhagel to achieve our goals by the end of the season," said Berlin's general manager Michael Preetz.

"We asked him if he would be willing to help us and the talks were very pleasant.

"Anyone who knows Otto Rehhagel knows he lives for football, still has the burning desire and is very charismatic."

Hertha are 15th in the German league, just above the relegation zone.

"This is terrific. I think he's a fantastic coach," said Hoffenheim coach Markus Babbel, who was also sacked by Berlin just before Christmas.

"I've had the great pleasure to train under him. I look forward to seeing him soon."

Former Norway striker Jan-Aage Fjoertoft, who used to play for Sheffield United and Middlesborough but now works as a pundit for German Sky Sports, was also enthusiastic.

"This is the biggest comeback since Elvis in 1968," he tweeted.

Interim coach Rene Tretschok was in charge on Saturday when Hertha lost 1-0 to defending champions Borussia Dortmund, but produced a battling performance.

Having taken over as Greece coach in 2001, Rehhagel resigned in 2010 after his team were knocked out in the group stage of the World Cup finals in South Africa and he had taken Greece from 61st to eighth in the FIFA world rankings.

Rehhagel played for Hertha from 1963-65 and ended his career at Kaiserslautern in 1972.

As a club coach he led Werder Bremen to the Bundesliga title in 1988 and 1993, as well as their Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1992 and had a brief spell in charge of Bayern Munich.

In 1996, he joined Kaiserslautern and took them to the 1998 German league title, just a season after they were promoted.

Source: AFP