In a surprise move, former U.S. men's
national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann quit his job as head coach at Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin just 76 days after taking the job.
Klinsmann, 55, said in a Facebook post he intended to return to his role as a member of the Hertha supervisory board to which he had been appointed in 2019.
In late November, he returned to the sidelines for the first time since being fired as U.S. national team coach in 2016. He replaced head coach Ante Covic as Hertha Berlin was struggling and facing a relegation battle.
Klinsmann stabilized the situation as Hertha went unbeaten in its last four games before the winter break -- two wins and two ties. But it struggled after play resumed in January, winning just one of five games. A 3-1 home defeat to Mainz on Saturday dropped Hertha Berlin to 14th place.
What made Hertha's new struggles problematic is that they followed a January spending spree, an outlay of almost $81 million -- the largest amount spent by a European club on the 2020 winter market -- for four players: Santiago Ascacibar (VfB Stuttgart), Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig), Krzysztof Piatek (AC Milan) and Lucas Tousart (Lyon).
Still, Klinsmann, who will be succeeded by assistant Alexander Nouri, leaves Hertha in better shape than it was when he took charge -- six points out of the Bundesliga's bottom three.
Klinsmann has had some success at the national team level -- with Germany, third at the 2006 World Cup, and the USA, which reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup -- but he struggled at the club level. A job at Bayern Munich ended after only 10 months in 2009.
Klinsmann said he is convinced that Hertha will stay up but he could not continue in his position in the current circumstances:
"I also need the trust of the people involved for the task at hand, which has not yet been completed. Especially in the battle against relegation, unity, cohesion and concentration on the essentials are the most important elements. If these are not guaranteed, it's not possible to fulfill my potential as a trainer [coach] and therefore cannot fulfill my responsibilities."
Klinsmann's Facebook statement: