The external conditions were extremely uncomfortable. Heavy rain lashed from the west over Schenckendorfplatz on the Berlin Olympic site. And yet there was comparatively brisk activity when the Hertha BSC footballers completed their first training session of the week on Tuesday afternoon. Significantly more people turned up than usual, perhaps because word has gotten around that there is always something going on at Hertha.
That only applied to a limited extent on Tuesday. Nothing was particularly spectacular either on the pitch or behind the scenes. The newly appointed sports management of the Berlin Bundesliga club tried largely in vain to optimize the existing squad. The result of their efforts was poor – especially compared to the expectations that had been awakened in part by the club itself and in part by the reports about the so-called Deadline Day, which was once again getting out of hand.
A number of names had been chased through the media village in the past few days: from Maximilian Philipp to Marvin Friedrich, from Jannik Vestergaard to Fabian Reese, from Kerem Demirbay to Gauthier Hein.
In the end it stayed with a new one, and with Tolga Cigerci he is also an old acquaintance. Two hours before the end of the transfer, when there was still speculation about other names on social media, coach Sandro Schwarz answered the question of whether there were any other transfers in a very succinct manner: “No.”
Cigerci played competitive games for Hertha from 2013 to 2016.
Tolga Cigerci returns to the Berliners after just over six years in Turkey, for whom he already made 41 competitive appearances (one goal) between 2013 and 2016. “The club means a lot to me. I’m happy to be back here,” the 30-year-old midfielder was quoted as saying in a statement from Hertha BSC.
He comes from the Turkish first division club Ankaragücü, where he was a leading player and captain, and will receive a contract until 2024. According to media reports from Turkey, Hertha will pay 350,000 euros for him, with 150,000 euros due if he stays in the league.
Cigerci moved to Ankara from the Istanbul club Basaksehir at the start of the season. Since then he has only missed one game in the Süperlig because he was suspended. In all other matches, Cigerci was in the starting XI. In September, the former German junior international also celebrated his comeback for the Turkish national team after six years.
“He is a mental player who knows the environment. That’s not entirely unimportant,” said coach Schwarz about the new signing. Hertha needs someone who will help the team in the relegation battle immediately, without a long adjustment period. Cigerci is “good at football, good at strategy, good at running”, and although he can be used in all positions in central midfield, Schwarz sees him primarily as a six.
He’s good at football, good at strategy, strong at run.
Hertha coach Sandro Schwarz about new signing Tolga Cigerci
With Cigerci’s signing, Hertha hopes to be able to eliminate one of the biggest weaknesses in the squad. The problem: There are a few others that the club would also like to have fixed. Since Agustin Rogel and Chidera Ejuke will be out for a long time, Hertha is said to have looked around for a central defender and an attacking winger. In vain.
“Oh my god,” Schwarz said when asked about the end of the transfer period. His reaction gave an idea of how troublesome the matter had been. The fact that Hertha had changed the sporting leadership three days before the end, that Fredi Bobic, the previous managing director, had been replaced by the previously largely inexperienced Benjamin Weber, did not make things easier.
“One or the other didn’t work out,” admitted Schwarz. Hertha didn’t want to do one or the other either. Because, as in the case of Frenchman Gauthier Hein, not everything that Bobic had prepared was approved by the new sporting management.
And so Sandro Schwarz has to save Hertha from relegation to the second division with an almost unchanged squad. “Obviously it’s been a shitty week with everything together,” Schwarz said. With three defeats from the first three games, with the dismissal of Fredi Bobic and the unsatisfactory transfer phase. But that’s over. “It’s important that we focus on the things that we can influence on the pitch.”
Brayden White, a veteran sports writer at Global Happening, brings his wealth of knowledge and expertise to the sports section. With over a decade of experience, he is committed to delivering high-quality coverage of the latest games and events.