Sporting director Fredi Bobic leaves Frankfurt for Hertha

Sports

BERLIN (AP)Eintracht Frankfurt’s unplanned management shakeup continued Wednesday with the announcement that sporting director Fredi Bobic will leave at the end of the season after five successful years.

Bundesliga rival Hertha Berlin later announced that the 49-year-old Bobic will join as managing director from June 1.

”I’m looking forward to being part of the Hertha family again from the summer,” said Bobic, a former striker who played 61 competitive games for Hertha between 2003-05.

The announcements came a day after Frankfurt said coach Adi Hutter will depart to join league rival Borussia Monchengladbach next season and two months after it was announced that Bruno Hubner, the team’s other sporting director, is leaving.

All three have played key roles in leading Frankfurt to the brink of Champions League qualification this season. The team is fourth in the Bundesliga, holding the last spot for Europe’s premier competition with a seven-point cushion and six games left to play.

Bobic and Frankfurt agreed to cut short his contract, which was originally due to run through June 2023.

”Fredi Bobic has played a big part in Eintracht’s recent sporting and financial success,” Frankfurt chairman Philip Holzer said. ”His smart and successful personnel decisions have led to an improvement in the first team and he has done a perfect job.”

Bobic faces a challenge to repeat his success at big-spending Hertha, which is disjointed and battling relegation despite millions in investments from backer Lars Windhorst, who wants to transform the capital club into one of Germany’s best.

”We are very happy to have won our dream candidate in Fredi Bobic and are very much looking forward to successful work together,” Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer said.

Holzer said Frankfurt has already been working on finding a successor for Bobic. Former Leipzig general manager Ralf Rangnick is the favorite to take over.

Frankfurt had only avoided Bundesliga relegation through a playoff when Bobic took over in 2016. With Niko Kovac as coach, Frankfurt reached the German Cup final the next season, and won it the following year before Kovac left for Bayern Munich.

Frankfurt reached the Europa League semifinal the following year under Kovac’s successor Hutter.

”I look back on five wonderful years at Eintracht Frankfurt,” Bobic said. ”The successes we have had during this time fill me with pride.”

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