After a successful battle against the relegation last season, I did spent some time in the cold argentinian winter to reload the batteries for the upcoming season.
Some day one of my close friends at the Argentinian association mentioned that Boca Juniors new Manager Mohammed didn't count on wonderkid Marcos Gomez and he was on his way to Greece. At the same moment I decided to call the president of Hertha to tell him, that we need to sign him.
First he wasn't sure, because we already had to good strikers with Schieber and Kalou, but instead Kalou moved to Panathinakos and the way for Marcos Gomez was free. And with a few of only 4 millions he is surely a bargain.
It was in general at pretty busy transfer window, while we managed to get over 30 millions for Kalou, Brooks and Gyomber. (Brooks was even the 5th highest transfer fee in the german transfer window with his move to Juventus)
With Brooks and Gyomber we had two center backs moving on, so it was clear we needed some new center backs for sure. We decided to sign Tilen Klemenic and regen Patrick de Wit.
With all players under the age of 23 years, we are going with the club philosophy to sign young players for first team. Another of my favorite players back in Argentina that did not figure in the first team plans was Sani Utaka. An amazing Nigerian regen that was found by one of my scouts back then. With a fee of 6 millions he pretty good business for us as well and he I am sure he will do amazing on the attacking midfielder position.
The rest of the signed players:
For the upcoming season the bookmakers put us in the relegation battle with Odds-to-win of 200-1, but I did have the feeling that we could do a bit more. It looks like Bayern will do it again, at least if we believe the predictions.
The goal was to collect some points as quickly as possible in order to clearly off the relegation battle. The first third of season did start really well. We started with 3 wins (including the german cup). In overall the quality of the seemed to way to good to fight again against the relegation. We finished the first half of the season with just two losses against Leverkusen and Köln away from home.** We started the winter break on top of the table with a 3 point lead.**
AC Milan decided to make a huge offer for Mitchell Weiser (22+ millions) and as I saw him only as a backup for numerous (DR, AML, AMR) positions, I decided to let him go. This gave us the possibility to strengthen our squad a little more in the transfer window. Due to new transfers, unhappy Sebastian Langkamp made a move to Vancouver.
First new face was Augusto Batalla, a wonderful young (23) goalkeeper playing at River Plate. He joined us for a fee of 7.5 millions. He will be battling with Thomas Kraft for a first team place, while being the long term replacement of Kraft who is already 31 years old.
The second transfer in January was the regen center back Pedro Sanches from Sporing Lisbon, he did cost us 3.8mio. The main reason I got him was to have a good backup for the CB and RB position. (He ended up playing at lot because RB Joao Pedro was out for a few month).
The last acquisition with first team impact was done on deadline day. We snapped up Donis Avdijaj from Schalke 04 on loan with a potential future fee of 4 mio. (Spoiler: He did not provide the football that I wanted and because of that he will heading back after the end of the season)
The good run of the the first part of the season did continue. In the german cup we reached the semi final and it the league we managed to continue the battle for the league title until the end of the season. In April we faced two crucial games agains Bayern Müchen in the same week.
The league game at home was the first one: We managed to get an unbelievable win over the huge favorite and managed to overtake them and go to the top of the table again:
Jonas Bagger shot to the near post in the first first half allowed the fans to continue with their dreams: plugin:youtube
4 days later we travelled to Munich to play the semi final of the german cup, but we weren't good enough to withstand Bayern again and we lost 1-3.
The last 4 games went also pretty successful and so we were able to enjoy our your silverware:
The most important piece of this title are the impressive performances of players that have joined Hertha BSC this year. Marcos Gomez and Sani delivered both incredible performances over the whole season. The new rights wingers Andres Sala and Jonas Bagger had also been crazy in the attacking third, especially Bagger with his winner against Bayern München.
The incredible good position in the league allowed us to get a lot more of prize money than last year (30 millions):
The prize money has been invested pretty fast by the board to buy the current stadium during the next 12 months, which will allow us hopefully to improve our financial strength:
To begin the transfer window the board increased to number of allowed scouts from 9 to 16, which is wonderful news.
On the first of July we welcomed Krystian Sanocki, Gedion Zelalem, Godfred Donsah and Patrick Roberts in Berlin as free transfers. I am sure they will all be great transfers.
We couldn't do any more transfers because the board did not allow me to adjust the transfer budget anymore. With the settings of an available transfer budget of -3.49 mio and an available wage budget of 350k,000 per week we couldn't do any more signings....
In order to keep the first team squad as small as possible (I hate huge squads) Julian Schieber, Nemanja Stevanovic and Marvin Stefanik have moved on.
As a backup for Marcos Gomez as a forward Anel Dedic will be play in the first team squad and the under-19 team next season.
Ladies and Gentlemen may I present the goal of the year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSIZDshoBMk