The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today is 2011 second division champions Hertha Berlin.

After a gut-wrenching relegation from the Bundesliga two seasons ago while advancing to the Round of 32 of the Europa League, Hertha Berlin earned direct promotion in style by winning the second division. And now the proud club from the German capital is looking to re-establish themselves in the top flight.

Head coach Markus Babbel has a strong group already in place which can compete for the international spots. He and general manager Michael Preetz were able to keep Brazilian midfieder Raffael and even brought in his brother Ronny while also retaining Colombian striker Adrian Ramos. Hertha also had Bundesliga veterans Levan Kobiasvili and Christian Lell in the second division last season. Berlin also continued to rely on young German players, including Peter Niemeyer and Patrick Ebert.

Babbel and Preetz clearly realized they will need to strengthen their team if they want to make any noise in the Bundesliga.

Despite losing Valeri Domovchiyski and Daniel Beichler to MSV Duisburg, Hertha made some strong acquisitions. Maik Franz brings nearly 200 Bundesliga appearances to the defense after leaving relegated side Eintracht Frankfurt. Berlin also brought up to their senior side 18-year-old defender John Anthony Brooks.

The former Bayern Munich star Babbel nabbed two more solid players from the record champions to join former Bayern player Lell. Goalkeeper Thomas Kraft was good enough last winter to convince Bayern coach Louis van Gaal to play him instead of Hans-Jörg Butt. But Kraft was sorted out just 12 games later and now Berlin have swooped in to sign the 23-year-old keeper. Hertha also added midfielder Andreas Ottl, who had been with Bayern for 15 years and played 92 league matches and 20 Champions League games for Munich.

Hertha picked up another promising youngster sorted out at a big club as they brought in Turkish striker Tunay Torun, who played only five games last season with Hamburg due to injuries.

“We brought in players who fit in with the team and can push us forward. We want to continue on where we stopped last season,” said Babbel, who also warned supporters of having too high of expectations.

“Our main goal very clearly is staying in the league. It would be foolhardy to dream of championships or cup titles as promoted team.”

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2 Comments

  1. Doug says:

    Good summary, Dave. For a lot of Bundesliga football fans, it is important for Hertha to be in the top flight, simply because this is the country’s capital. Beside that, Babbel is a quiet, calm type of coach – but we’ll see how calm he can manage to stay if Hertha should start the season off on the wrong foot and the pressure immediately builds up on him.

  2. Dave says:

    well, he couldnt have any more pressure than he had when he was in stuttgart.
    but i think he will be fine. preetz knows what they have in him