Jurgen Klinsmann, former coach of the U.S. national team, is returning to the sidelines in his native Germany after being hired Wednesday to guide struggling Hertha Berlin from relegation.
Klinsmann joined the advisory board of the Bundesliga club earlier this month, but the team hasn’t won since, dropping four straight and going winless in its last six in all competition to fall to 15th in the 18-team standings.
“The most important thing is to climb up as soon as possible. Once we are safe in mid-table, then we will look up again, but one thing at a time,” Klinsmann told reporters. “The biggest issue is to create a team that can get points as soon as possible.” Klinsmann will debut as coach on Saturday against Borussia Dortmund.
Klinsmann, 55, hasn’t coached since 2016, when he was fired by U.S. Soccer after losing the first two games of what proved to be a failed campaign to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Although the U.S. had the second-best record in the six-team field over the qualifying tournament’s final eight matches, it couldn’t overcome the slow start, missing the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Since then, Klinsmann was thought to be a candidate for coaching vacancies with the Australian and Ecuadoran national teams, though he wound up with neither. The Hertha Berlin job will be his fourth; he also coached the German national team and Bayern Munich, taking the club to the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2009 before being firedwith the team third in the Bundesliga standings.
Klinsmann replaces Ante Covic, 44, who had a league record of 3-7-2 and left the team above the relegation zone on goal differential.
Klinsmann’s son Jonathan, who attended Santa Ana Mater Dei High, played for Covic on Hertha Berlin’s reserve team before moving to Swiss club FC St. Gallen earlier this year.