Hertha Berlin Manager Pal Dardai Has Been Awarded an Indefinite Contract
At Hertha Berlin, both fans and officials alike have an awful lot of faith in Pal Dardai. This past season, as the Blue-Whites teetered toward relegation, Dardai took over as manager and steered the football club to a 15th place finish. It wasn’t a great result, but it kept Hertha BSC out of the red zone and alive to fight another day in Germany’s top-flight division. Now, Hertha Berlin manager Pal Dardai has been granted an “indefinite contract” which could keep the Hungarian manager in Germany for quite some time.
Dardai’s Hertha Berlin History
Of course, it makes sense that if Hertha were going to put faith in anyone at this point, it was going to be Pal. Dardai played the majority of his career at the football club, coming aboard as a midfielder in 1997, and staying put until retiring from the game in 2011. He made 297 league appearances for the team—making him the most capped player in Hertha BSC history.
While playing with the Blue-Whites, Dardai never won a Bundesliga title. In fact, Hertha Berlin have not won a German top-flight football championship since clinching two titles back to back in 1930 and 1931. However, Pal did help his squad stick around in the top-flight and score six top-five Bundesliga finishes during his tenure. Indeed, during the 15 seasons that Dardai wore the Berlin soccer jersey, only two of them—the first and the last—were played in 2. Bundesliga.
Hertha BSC’s Recent Struggles
Not coincidentally, the Blue-Whites have really fallen off since Dardai left. Pal’s final season, 2010 – 2011, saw Hertha winning the 2. Bundesliga after having been relegated the year before. But the return to the top-flight was short-lived: the 2011 – 2012 season saw the soccer squad finishing 16th and suffering relegation once more, while 2012 – 2013 brought another second division win and promotion.
The team have been playing in the Bundesliga ever since, but haven’t gotten close to the heights they reached while Pal Dardai was part of the starting lineup. The 2013 – 2014 brought a solid, if unremarkable 11th place result, while this past season very nearly brought another relegation.
The 2014 – 2015 Season
During the first 19 games of the 2014 – 2015 Bundesliga campaign, the Blue-Whites won five matches, drew three, and lost the other 11. Following an 0-1 loss against Bayer Leverkusen on February 4th, manager Jos Luhukay—who had been with the football club since summer 2012—was dismissed, and Dardai was brought in, originally as an interim replacement.
Pal had been around at BSC for several years, managing the club’s U-15 squad since 2012. Even after he took the head coaching position with the Hungarian national team, Dardai continued to work at Hertha, doing double duty to honor the club he must consider as his home.
As a result, when Luhukay was sacked, Pal was the natural candidate to guide the Blue-Whites through the remainder of the season. Of the 15 games for which he presided over Hertha BSC, the squad only won four games, but they also drew five and only lost six. It was a slight improvement over the numbers the team had been seeing recently under Luhukay, and it was just enough to keep them out of the red zone.
The Indefinite Contract
Dardai’s reward for snatching the Blue-Whites out of relegation range is an indefinite contract. All this really means is that Pal will stay in Berlin for as long as he continues to get positive results out of his team, but it also shows a lot of faith from club officials that Dardai is the man to turn things around.
Discussing the head coaching position with Hertha, Pal said “Everybody knows this is a dream come true for me.” He also noted that there is a lot of work to be done in Berlin to get the Blue-Whites up to snuff again, but vowed to pursue the task with “absolute enthusiasm,” and made a hopeful promise to fans: “We are going to have a great season. I’m totally convinced about it.”
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