BERLIN (AP) – Jürgen Klinsmann’s sudden departure from Hertha Berlin has left the door open for demoted goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry to return to the team.
The Bundesliga club said Petry was returning “with immediate effect” on Wednesday, one day after Klinsmann surprisingly announced he was quitting as coach.
Klinsmann demoted Petry after his appointment as coach on Nov. 27, replacing the experienced Hungarian for four weeks with Germany national team goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke, then calling up Max Steinborn, previously with Hertha’s under-23s, to replace Köpke once he left.
Hertha said Steinborn will return to the under-23s “but regularly support the coaching team of the senior team over the course of the second half of the season.”
Petry’s demotion had reportedly upset Hertha goalkeepers Rune Jarstein, Thomas Kraft and Dennis Smarsch.
“I have a lot to thank Zsolt for,” Jarstein told Kicker magazine recently. “I wouldn’t be in Berlin without him. I wouldn’t be the goalkeeper I am without him. We have a special relationship.”
Many within the club felt Klinsmann’s treatment of Petry was motivated by personal factors after Petry criticized his son Jonathan, who played for Hertha between 2017 and 2019 before moving to Swiss side St. Gallen on a free transfer.
“The serious, earnest, focused German work hasn’t quite reached him. There’s still too much American in him,” Petry said of the reserve goalkeeper in March 2018.
Klinsmann quit as coach on Tuesday after just nine Bundesliga games. Assistant coach Alexander Nouri has taken over on an interim basis.