Dhe subway line 2 connects Berlin city center with the west, where the Olympic Stadium is located. The route has been interrupted for some time due to construction work, but will be made operational for a short time on Saturday. For a few hours, when the derby between Hertha BSC and 1. FC Union takes place (6.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky).
There are enough passengers to transport, the game is sold out. For the first time since January 2020, more than 76,000 spectators will be present in the Olympic Stadium. Hertha’s home has been there for decades, but the club has long wanted to move out and build a new arena.
When it came to the stadium question, there had been as little progress recently as in the table, where Hertha is in the greatest danger of relegation as the penultimate. After the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district rejected a new building on a site favored by Hertha during the week, there is now new hope.
Berlin’s sports senator Iris Spranger (SPD) promised an area very close by. On the condition that Hertha had to reduce the planned spectator capacity of around 50,000 visitors. Exact figures were not given, but Hertha manager Fredi Bobic was pleased. “That shows what positive talks we had with the city recently,” said Bobic.
Movement on the subject of new stadium construction was the most gratifying news of an otherwise eventful week at Hertha BSC. As has often been the case recently, this had to do with investor Lars Windhorst. There were reports that Windhorst had allegedly pledged his shares in the professional department of Hertha BSC, which he had bought for 374 million euros. Windhorst is said to have parked it at a subsidiary of his holding Tennor called Peil Investment.
At least one unrest factor
He is said to have given this company as security in the context of a loan transaction. Several media had reported that a notary’s office based in the Netherlands had written to Hertha BSC to find out the value of Windhorst’s shares.
Windhorst denied an imminent forced sale of his shares in Hertha BSC. He wrote via the short message service Twitter: “The Hertha shares of Peil Investment are neither pledged nor will they be foreclosed on!” It is said that the notary’s office was simply wrong because it did not know that Windhorst and its lenders had reached an agreement.
However, the process was always good as a factor of unrest, the relationship between the club and the investor has not only been strained since this matter. Just a few weeks ago, Windhorst called for the fall of Hertha President Werner Gegenbauer. In turn, Windhorst’s seemingly risky business practices should be confirmed. A cooperation of both men for the benefit of Hertha BSC is currently excluded.
Lots of headlines
It is one of the big problems for Berliners that the club produces all kinds of headlines in addition to everyday sporting life. The day-to-day business itself gives enough. After two defeats in the Bundesliga and DFB Cup, the first win is expected against Union. “We still have six finals.
With every point we don’t score, the pressure, which is already high, increases,” says coach Felix Magath before the end of the season. After the derby Hertha meets the direct competitors in the relegation battle Augsburg, Stuttgart and Bielefeld. After these encounters, there will probably be a clear trend as to which league Hertha will have to compete in next season.
Union is entirely exempt from worries of this kind. The Berliners, who are based in the East, are aiming to take part in an international competition again. When asked what the rival from the other end of town was doing right, Magath said: “Union had a line and followed that line. That is also connected to the first man Dirk Zingler.”
Zingler has been leading Union for almost two decades, he brought the club from the amateur camp to Europe. At Hertha BSC they have been dreaming of this for years, but the club is only dealing with more pressing issues for the time being. One of them is who, loosely based on Magath, is the “first man” in the club. President Werner Gegenbauer or investor Lars Windhorst?
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